Coffee cup recycling trials to be undertaken by DS Smith

Coffee shop worker two disposable cups with blank sleeves

DS Smith, which has offices in Lincolnshire, has announced its involvement in a trial to research coffee cup recycling in a project that will commence in January 2018, and will be run on behalf of the Paper Cup Recycling and Recovery Group (PCRRG).

The feasibility of recycling used coffee cups will be analysed, using cups from existing waste collection infrastructures consistent with the European List of Standard Grades of Paper and Board for Recycling, to make non-food contact papers.

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

Mathew Prosser, Managing Director at DS Smith Recycling (UK) – “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.”

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.

However DS Smith, as a member of the PCRRG, says it is committed to providing “more insight” into the issues, as part of an industry drive to finding a sustainable recycling solution for coffee cups, especially as coffee “on the go” has become an everyday feature of our consumer culture on a mass scale.

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

“We look forward to sharing the results of the trial with the PCRRG, and the wider industry, on its completion.”