What’s worse is that all these cups - conventional, coated, and compostable, are made from 100% virgin paper.
But, unlike these cups that use virgin paper and tightly bound plastic or PLA (Polylactic acid), the Frugal Cup is made from 96% recycled paperboard with 4% of the cup a PE (Polyethylene) food-grade liner.
As the liner is made separately and not laminated onto the cup board, it makes it much easier to recycle. The liner comes away in standard recycling facilities and does not contaminate the resulting paper pulp. This means the Frugal Cup “closes the loop” for coffee cups.
Frugal Cup has been proven to have the lowest carbon and water footprints when compared to conventional, coated, and compostable cups.
I’d like to ask you about the broader picture beyond your successful entry. “Sustainability” in packaging is multi-dimensional – both in terms of objectives and challenges. Could you comment on the most important roadblocks you identify from your position in the value chain, and the kinds of solutions you would like to see addressing them (e.g. areas of technological innovation, collaboration, regulation)?
It’s increasingly clear that people and businesses have to live and work more sustainably. Recycling coffee cups is still a huge problem.
There is only one dedicated waste facility in the UK to process conventional cups and 53 industrial composting sites that could process compostable cups. Increasing that capacity will cost tens of millions of pounds and take decades to achieve.
The Frugal Cup has been specifically designed to go through conventional recycling facilities. Moving over to our cup will protect the environment, reduce carbon emissions, save billions of litres of water, and stop millions of trees needlessly being cut down to produce single-use cups made of virgin paper.
Our objective is to get the Frugal Cup recognised as not requiring specialist recycling or specialist composting and flowing through the recycling process again. We recognise there needs to be value in the paper and recycling chain to encourage this.
We would encourage a unified approach by local authorities towards the collection of paper to reduce collectors’ and recyclers’ costs, as well as a levy or tax on all paper packaging not using a specific percentage of recycled content – we’d suggest 80% by weight to incentivise more value and therefore production of recycled paper.
Also, we believe that a common and simple labelling system that tells the customers the carbon footprint of the packaging and its recycling capability is necessary.