Copyright © Huhtamäki Oyj

Huhtamaki and Stora Enso have collaborated to launch a new paper cup recycling initiative, The Cup Collective. The programme aims to recycle and capture the value of used paper cups on an industrial scale.

The companies claim the programme is the first of its kind in Europe. Initially, it will be implemented across the Benelux. Aiming to set new standards for paper cup collection and recycling in Europe, The Cup Collective has issued an open invitation for partners from across the supply chain to become involved in working towards a systemic European solution.

Huhtamaki says the EU has set recycling targets for paper and board packaging of 85% by 2030. According to Cepi, in 2021 71.4% of all paper and board consumed in Europe was recycled.

Apparently, The Cup Collective initiative will create the necessary collection infrastructure to significantly increase the recycling rate of wood-fibre in paper cups. The programme intends to make it easier for consumers and businesses to collect used paper cups to be regenerated into recycled raw material.

The first paper cup collection bins will be available in restaurants, cafés, office buildings and transport hubs in the Brussels and Amsterdam metropolitan areas. The Cup Collective aims to recycle half a billion paper cups in the first two years, and allegedly has the capacity to increase recycling volumes in Europe.

The programme is managed by Co-cre8, a UK-based firm which designs and implements recycling programmes across Europe.

“Stora Enso wants to accelerate the circularity of all packaging materials and we have an excellent foundation to make that happen. The paperboards we make are designed to be recycled and our own production sites, including Langerbrugge in Belgium, can process and recycle paper cups into new fibre-based products,” says Hannu Kasurinen, executive vice president of the Stora Enso Packaging Materials division.

The Cup Collective will work with partners throughout the supply chain, from restaurants and café chains, retailers and transport hubs to independent coffee shops, collection partners, waste management operators and policymakers across Europe in an effort to address the challenges to recycling and deliver a viable scalable solution for Europe. To begin with, The Cup Collective is being financed by the two companies but a key factor of The Cup Collective will be the potential to become self-funding in the future.

Earlier this month we spoke to Eric Le Lay, Huhtamaki President of Fibre and Foodservice Europe-Asia-Oceania about using high precision technology to create smooth moulded fibre packaging.

Meanwhile, Stora Enso was a finalist in Packaging Europe’s Sustainability Awards 2022 with its Papira product, an innovative wood fibre-based material offering a renewable and paper-recyclable alternative to fossil-based foams.