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Multiple awards for Kendal firm’s CupCycling initiative

Paper manufacturer James Cropper is turning heads for its world-first recycling initiative to upcycle one billion disposable coffee cups into paper and packaging products by 2020.

Paper manufacturer James Cropper is turning heads for its world-first recycling initiative to upcycle one billion disposable coffee cups into paper and packaging products by 2020.

The tricky issue of dealing with the 2.5 billion coffee cups thrown away in the UK every year has been in the media spotlight for the last year. 

It was revealed in 2016 that less than one per cent were being recycled due to polyethylene coatings that make them difficult to treat at end-of-life.

In response, James Cropper developed a trademarked ‘CupCycling’  technology that takes the virgin paper in takeaway cups and upcycles it into deluxe paper. The facility has the capacity to deal with 500 million cups a year. 

‘World-first solution’

The first retailer to sign up was Selfridges, which is collecting cups at its headquarters and stores to upcycle into its iconic yellow shopping bags.

James Cropper has now won a number of industry awards for the process, including Best Collaborative Effort at the 2018 Sedex Awards, the Sustainability Award at the 2018 Foodservice Packaging Association Awards and, most recently, the Green/Sustainable Manufacturer Award at the Insider Made in the North West Awards 2018.

Richard Burnett, market development manager at James Cropper, said: “We hope the recent award wins shine a light on this genuine world-first solution and show how it is possible to save billions of cups from landfill and give them a second life. 

‘Collective pledge’

“The secret to a more sustainable future, however, lies in a collective pledge – so we look forward to gaining further commitment from consumers, retailers, waste management companies, local authorities and beyond.”

Most major coffee chains have now announced plans to tackle disposable cups. Most recently, Costa announced that it will subsidies waste collection companies to collect its cups, paying £70 per tonne in an effort to raise the value of the waste stream.