Packaging business to trial coffee cup recycling

McDonald’s & Starbucks to develop recyclable cup
Credit: Shutterstock.com/ Africa Studio

Packaging business DS Smith is launching a series of trials ascertaining the validity of take-away coffee cup recycling next year.

Commencing in January 2018, the project will be run on behalf of the Paper Cup Recycling and Recovery Group (PCRRG).

Undertaken at DS Smith’s Kemsley Paper Mill in Sittingbourne, the feasibility of recycling used coffee cups will be analysed, using cups from existing waste collection infrastructures, consistent with EN643 (The European List of Standard Grades of Paper and Board for Recycling) to make non-food contact papers.

The project will provide insight on an industrial scale, which will be used to inform cup design, collection and reprocessing methods in the future.

To date, used coffee cups have presented significant challenges to mainstream paper mills producing papers for the packaging industry.

This is in part due to the plastic lining found in coffee cups, which present a problem in the high volume continuous pulping process. Other challenges exist around food waste contamination and dealing with the coffee remnants.

“DS Smith has already been actively involved with PCRRG members, such as Costa, on lab and pilot plant-scale recycling tests,” said MD Mathew Prosser.

“I am pleased this work has developed to be able to undertake research on an industrial scale that will provide the whole supply cycle with data on the recyclability of paper cups in mainstream packaging mills.”