04 Oct Why sending coffee cups to paper mills is not the answer
NextCupCycle can handle a number of paper and plastic laminate streams. The confederation of paper industries (CPI) have been following the coffee cup scenario and have identified that it is not only coffee cups that the problem lies with.
CPI make the point that some of the companies in the paper cup supply chain claim coffee cups are recyclable. In theory, this should be correct. But, there are problems. The coffee cup stream is regarded as low value/graded material and therefore presents problems when mixed with higher grades in paper mills. Also, the polyethylene lining can end up clogging filters and is seen as a separate waste stream that then needs to find a home. The contaminants that come with this waste stream including tea bags, lids, spoons and other waste streams that consumers put in the bin including foil and sandwich packs as well as food waste presents a real problem for most mills. This creates a highly contaminated stream for paper mills which they would prefer not to have.
Paper mills see this waste as a low grade highly contaminated stream which they would rather not have.
Additional problems include the paper sticking to the plastic. This fraction is filtered out of the process and ultimately ends up in landfill or incineration. So why prevent further problems to paper mills when we do not have to separate the polyethylene liner and in fact use it to help bond and produce plastic paper composites though the NextCupCycle resin that can be used in many products.