London, England — UK’s reCUP recyclable paper cup with EarthCoating®, has been recognized as fully recyclable by achieving the coveted “Category A Recyclable” certification per The Green Dot (Der Grune Punkt) recycling standards. The Green Dot recognizes standards for recyclability claims in 31 countries including the UK and Ireland. This certification for paper cups with EarthCoating is compliant with the Packaging Recovery Organization Europe “PRO” program per EU Directive 94/62.
Throughout the UK’s coffee cup recycling debate, the underlying challenge is that conventional plastic-coated paper cups are not engineered to be recyclable through widely-available industry-standard recycling equipment, therefore, most are disposed of in landfill. The Green Dot program classifies a conventional paper cup as a plastic-laminated material. There are discussions within Parliament of building a specialist recycling infrastructure over many years, funded by a “Latte Levy” paid by the consumer to address the UK’s annual use of 2.5 billion conventional paper coffee cups.
The reCUP utilizes EarthCoating, a paperboard packaging coating, which is compatible with conventional paper recycling equipment. The Green Dot Certification recognizes paper cups with EarthCoating to be fully recyclable within the “uncoated paper” classification, therefore paper cups with EarthCoating can be recycled into new recycled paper products.
Paper Cups with EarthCoating are a proven solution as production volume over the past 12 months has quickly reached 10 million cups per month.
Since paper cups with EarthCoating are fully recyclable materials, recycling infrastructure investments should be unnecessary and therefore relieves the pressure for public taxes such as the “Latte Levy”.
The double-wall reCUP receiving PRO certification contains these distinctive highlights:
* 90% fiber recovery
* Classification in uncoated paper grades
* Certified as recyclable
* Qualified for baling along with uncoated paperboards (office paper grade and standard OCC)
* Qualified for collection in municipal mixed paper bales
“EarthCoating has enabled a new direction in the recycling of paperboard foodservice packaging” says Chris Tilton, Chief Materials Technology Officer at Smart Planet. “Paperboard packaging with EarthCoating is engineered for recycling and valuable to recyclers to collect and recycle, while achieving the required levels of packaging performance combined. The cerification demonstrates the ability to take immediate steps to solve the problem, using today’s UK recycling infrastructure.”
The Green Dot Certificate is available in the EarthCoating Repulping Report at http://www.smartplanettech.com
HUNTINGTON BEACH, CA, July 25, 2018— As the surf kicks up for the US Open of Surfing,across the street, Pacific City retail development will be kicking up the first wave of a paper cup recycling program for Southern California and the nation.
Traditionally, paper cups have typically been sent to landfill, because the inner lining of plastic is not designed to process through paper recycling equipment.
During the US Open of Surfing, Pacific City will be using a new paper cup called reCUP®, a paper cup with a redesigned inner lining that is universally recyclable in traditional paper recycling equipment. Guests of the property will see these environmentally-friendly reCUPs launch throughout Pacific City during the U.S. Open of Surfing.
Using a paper cup that’s designed to be recycled, enables systems to be put in place for the recycling of paper cups.
The property is also adding dedicated paper cup recycling receptacles throughout the common areas as Pacific City is participating in Southern California’s new reCUP® Recycling Initiative, a closed-loop recycling program for reCUP® paper cups. The initiative is a blueprint to address paper cup and single-use paperboard packaging waste nationwide through recycling rather than landfill.
ReCUPs are distributed by 4 Blue Waves, a local food service packaging distributor of environmentally-friendly packaging, founded by core volunteers of the Surfrider Foundation, Huntington/Seal Beach Chapter. Receptacles will be provided by Busch Systems, and recycling of reCUPs coordinated by Allan Company, one of the largest independent recyclers in the Western United States.
“We’re thrilled to support such an advancement in sustainable retail property sustainability practices” said Jen Williams General Manager of Pacific City. “For every ton of reCUPs collected, we save: 5 trees, 1,601 gallons of water, 524 hours of electricity and 51 gallons of oil”
As major brands around the world continue to grapple with waste such as paper cups, Pacific City is taking immediate steps to solve this problem and leading the recyclability charge by showing what is possible today.
To learn more about Pacific City, visit www.gopacificcity.com
To learn more about reCUP®, visit reCUP.earth
One of Ireland’s leading forecourt retailers, Applegreen has confirmed that, from July, the brand will replace all non-recyclable single-use cups in stores with a new 100% recyclable cup created by reCUP™
Applegreen has partnered with reCUP™ to introduce the first commercially available paper cup that uses Earth Coating, a fully recyclable lining engineered to be processed easily through traditional paper recycling equipment and to be recycled into new paper products. Both the cup and the lid can be added to your regular recycling bin at home or at work, so customers can enjoy the best coffee on the road safe in the knowledge that they can recycle it, once they reach their office, home or nearest recycling bin!
Speaking at announcement today Conor Lucey Head of Operations at Applegreen Plc commented “At Applegreen we are extremely passionate about reducing our impact on the environment. Every day in Ireland, approximately 2 million paper coffee cups are being diverted to landfills because the interior plastic coating makes them very difficult to recycle. We are delighted to be able to make the switch and play our part in reducing non-recyclable waste.”
This isn’t the first move Applegreen has taken towards sustainability. The brand, which was founded 26 years ago, has been actively working through the years on recycling and waste minimisation through the use of ‘green’ suppliers, sustainable materials, bio-diversity, energy management and water efficiency.
The SuperCup is an earth friendly, space saving and ergonomically designed paper cup for the airline cabin product industry.
Newport Beach, CA, May 10, 2018 — Linstol, a leading distributor for the airline cabin product industry, has completed a license agreement from Smart Planet Technologies, to use EarthCoating in Linstol’s new “Super Cup” paper cup offering for the airline industry.
Airlines across the industry strive to meet sustainability objectives to reduce disposable packaging waste, and improve recycling rates in its operations. Globally, disposable paper coffee cups are known to be particularly difficult to recycle because of the polyethylene plastic coating on the interior. Therefore, paper cups have been typically sorted to be disposed of in landfills. It is estimated that 15 billion coffee cups wind up in US landfills annually.
Linstol’s Super Cup, uses EarthCoating in its interior, a coating that is fully-compatible with traditional paper recycling systems, thereby the “Super Cup” is a paper cup that is designed to be recycled universally, while containing 43% less plastic content than a traditional paper cup.
The Super Cup is designed with a smaller storage footprint, with a 40% reduction in storage space, and allowing more cups per sleeve.
The features of the Super Cup make it a very attractive and cost-effective eco-friendly offering for the airline industry, and a demonstration by an airline to its passengers of the airline’s commitment to improve the sustainability of its operations. Linstol CEO, Mark Russell, states “Helping reduce our airline partners’ environmental footprint is an initiative that is at the core of who Linstol is.”
To learn more, visit linstol.com
Linstol is a leading supplier of in-flight passenger products for the airline industry. With a home office in Naples, Florida, and four office locations globally, Linstol has supplied more than 175 worldwide airlines with a compelling range of more than 300 different cabin-related passenger products over the past two decades.
About Smart Planet Technologies
Smart Planet Technologies is a materials engineering company focused on advancements in sustainability for the packaging industry. Through innovation, our technologies are focused to conserve precious natural resources and provide high quality, environmental alternatives to a wide variety of disposable packaging applications.
A new closed-loop collection program for reCUPs, paper cups engineered for recycling, gives Southern California businesses a sustainable paper cup solution
Newport Beach, CA, April 9, 2018 — Smart Planet Technologies has launched the first reCUP® Recycling Initiative with support from Southern California based recycling partners, Allan Company, a materials recovery facility (MRF) and Replenysh, a closed-loop collection platform provider.
“Allan Company is pleased to partner with Smart Planet Technologies via the reCUP® Recycling Initiative. Founded in 1963, Allan Company is an industry leader who is constantly looking to identify new recyclable materials and to create new markets to process those materials. Smart Planet Technologies’ reCUP is an innovative fiber cup solution made with EarthCoating® that Allan Company is proud to recycle” said Ryon Hart, Retail Accounts Manager for Allan Company.
It has been estimated that over 15 billion paper coffee cups get diverted to U.S. landfills each year. Traditional plastic-coated paper cups are typically too difficult for paper recyclers to process through their existing paper recycling equipment. However, reCUPs are made using EarthCoating®, which make them easy to process using todays paper recycling infrastructure, while using 51% less plastic. This affords businesses, retailers, schools, office buildings and venues throughout Los Angeles, Orange, and San Diego counties an opportunity to use reCUPs and have them collected and processed into recycled paper.
“Since post-industrial and post-consumer reCUP materials are easy for paper recyclers to process, and therefore valuable to collect, we’re providing businesses with a way to take responsibility for their waste and close the loop on it. Our platform allows customers to keep track of their landfill diversion impact and potentially participate in revenue sharing for the materials that we collect and sell to the recycling center.” said Mark Armen, owner of Replenysh.
Smart Planet Technologies received the 2017 Green Arrow Award from the California Product Stewardship Council for the development of reCUPs in support of CA landfill waste diversion goals. Interested businesses may now purchase reCUPs through a variety of domestic and international suppliers including CupPrint, Detpak, The Recyclable Cup Company, and Evelina Eco.
About Smart Planet Technologies
Smart Planet Technologies is a materials engineering and intellectual property company focused on material advancements for the packaging industry. Our proprietary EarthCoating® solutions use less plastic and support recyclability initiatives compared to traditional plastic-coated paperboard packaging materials.
About Allan Company
Allan Company believes that recycling has an important role to play in the health of our country and our planet. The more efficient, the more thorough, and the more self-sustaining our recycling efforts are, the more good we can do.
Replenysh is the next generation reuse and recycling solution. We are creating the building blocks of the circular economy—helping brands close the loop on their products and proving an amazing experience for customers.
To learn more about the reCUP® Recycling Initiative, visit www.recyclecups.org
Paul Foot, a partner and patent attorney at intellectual property firm Withers & Rogers, explores innovation in the context of the proposed ‘latte levy’.
With increasing numbers of food and drink outlets offering takeaway beverages in disposable packaging, it is unlikely that the issue of packaging recycling is going to go away any time soon. The UK alone uses 2.5 billion paper coffee cups every year.
The composition of drinks packaging lies at the root of the problem. Due to the nature of the product they hold – liquid beverages – drinks packaging needs to be sturdy and water resistant. In order to achieve this, packaging manufacturers have adopted a method by which a plastic laminate is co-extruded onto a paper or card sheet. The end result is a waterproof material, which consists of about five per cent plastic.
Plastic is not a biodegradable substance and the issue of recycling coffee cup packaging stems more from the separation of this plastic laminate from the cardboard layer. If these two layers can’t easily be separated in the recycling process, there is a risk of contaminating the paper pulp, causing further issues down the line.
There are recycling facilities around the world that can successfully undertake this kind of process. However, due to the complex and costly plant and machinery required, they are not widely available in the UK. In fact, there are only four recycling companies globally that have this capability, meaning only six million cups are recycled per year (i.e. only 0.25%).
Stronger incentives are needed
The war on drinks packaging waste is being led by France, where the Government has announced plans to ban all disposable cups and plates by 2020. Whilst a similar approach has not yet been adopted in the UK, calls to find solutions to the coffee cup dilemma have intensified.
In 2016, the Liberal Democrats proposed the introduction of a 5p levy on all disposable coffee cups, but this call was rejected. This debate has been reignited with a report issued in December 2017 by the Environmental Audit Committee. This report suggests that, similar to the plastic bag charge (which has proved to reduce the use of plastic bags by 83%), a coffee cup charge of at least 25p could reduce the use of disposable cups by up to 30%.
If such a levy was introduced, the funds could be allocated to invest in improved recycling infrastructure and reprocessing facilities. While this would have a positive effect, it wouldn’t necessarily provide a long-term solution, and it would take a long time to implement.
Stronger legal measures, such as those applied in France would have greater effect. For example, a move to ban all disposable coffee cups by a certain date would force manufacturers and coffee retailers to invest heavily in R&D activities to find new recycling or manufacturing methods or innovative new cup materials.
Some retailers have already introduced schemes to try and dissuade consumers from using disposable coffee cups. In particular, there has been a push for the adoption of reusable cups but this approach is unlikely to gain widespread appeal and current uptake is only around 1%. The convenience of being able to collect takeaway drinks as and when needed will be hard to overcome, even if discounts are available to those bringing a reusable cup. Such discounts alone are unlikely to change behaviour significantly.
Innovating the way to the future
Fresh approaches are urgently needed to tackle this recycling problem. This is likely to involve sector design specialists and others across the supply chain working together to find a holistic solution to reduce drinks packaging waste.
A number of major players in the coffee cup industry – Benders Paper Cups, Bunzl Catering Supplies, Caffe Nero, Dart Products Europe, Greggs, Huhtamaki International Paper, McDonald’s UK, Nestle, Pret a Manger, Seda Group, Starbucks and Stora Enso – recently signed up to an agreement with the Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment (ACE UK), with the aim of working towards a long-term solution. However, to date, examples of innovation activity appear few and far between.
Instead, there are some signs of progress from a number of smaller, innovation-led businesses. Set up in 2016 by entrepreneur Martin Myerscough, Frugalpac has developed an alternative cup design. In their design, instead of virgin paper laminated with a thin layer of plastic, the cup has a plastic liner that is lightly glued in place, so that it can be easily separated from its recycled cardboard shell at a standard paper recycling mill. Recycled board can be used in this way as no part of the board needs to be in contact with the drink itself, in which case virgin paper stock would be required for regulatory reasons. Frugalpac has protected this concept with a UK patent – GB2538429 – and is currently in talks with several major coffee retailers to supply their cups.
Another recent innovation is the ‘reCUP’, by Smart Planet Technologies Inc in California, USA. Unlike the coating of standard paper cups, the makers of the reCUP claim that its ‘EarthCoating’ formation can be easily washed out in the recycling process; allowing the paper to be recycled. They also claim that no changes need to be made to the cup manufacturing process and the cost of materials remains the same. In theory at least, this innovation has much potential and could solve many of the problems associated with standard cups.
Opportunities and threats
It is clear there is no quick-fix solution to the problem of coffee cup recycling and there are many factors to consider. However, for established cup manufacturers and recyclers, there is a danger they will lose the initiative to start-up businesses who are able to see the problems and solutions in a new light, and disrupt the industry. Therefore, they need to aggressively meet this challenge with new solutions, even if it means their existing business could suffer in the short term. Otherwise, they risk being the Nokia of the paper cup industry.