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The Cup Collective: Stora Enso and Huhtamaki welcome first major players to international recycling scheme

December 10, 2022
Chemical Value Chain

The Cup Collective, a program founded by Stora Enso and Huhtamaki to capture the value of used paper cups through recycling at an industrial scale, has welcomed its first partners, including McDonald’s, SSP The Food Travel Experts, C2 Centre and the National Railway Company of Belgium (SNCB).

Together, the companies aim to support the initiative’s ability to significantly increase paper cup recycling volumes in Europe.

The Cup Collective initiative aims to recycle half a billion paper cups in Europe in the first two years. The first paper cup collection bins are now available in public venues such as restaurants and transit hubs, throughout Brussels, Belgium. Collected cups are recycled in facilities in the region, including Stora Enso’s site in Langerbrugge, Belgium.

“The Cup Collective went live with the support of many companies from all around Brussels. The event demonstrated the importance of such initiatives. It is a trial for SNCB in two of our railway stations to test how we can collect used cups for recycling. We hope that this trial can be the beginning of an incentive for our customer and supplier to recycle every cup,” says Jeroen Alting von Geusau, head of sustainability at SNCB.

The two packaging giants first launched the Cup Collective in September this year. The program, touted as “the first of its kind in Europe,” intends to industrially scale the recycling and value capture of used paper cups and is set to operate across Benelux.

Making cup recycling easy
Partnership in the Cup Collective is open to a wide range of stakeholders both within and outside of the value chain. This includes food service providers, retailers, transportation services, waste collectors and management services, and other actors across Europe.

The initiative gathered its new partners and other interested stakeholders in Brussels for a panel discussion to highlight the program’s implementation.

Speaking on the day of the event in Brussels, Peter Goodwin, managing director and co-founder of co-cre8, the firm managing the Cup Collective program, says: “It is time to make paper cup recycling an easy, everyday activity. We are now able to provide a platform to collect and capture the value of paper cups at an industrial scale and are calling businesses to get on board and become part of the Cup Collective program.”

“Bringing industry together to make a truly industrial scale and viable program in the Cup Collective has seen true collaboration across the industry, we are now looking forward to seeing it grow and expand to show the true circularity of paper cups and capturing their value,” adds Goodwin.

Enthusiastic partners
Panelists shared their perspectives on recycling and the vast benefits that the Cup Collective’s solution can unlock. From detailing the ease of use for busy commuters to the mechanics behind the simple-to-use systems, each speaker highlighted the importance of the program, and their visions for the future of recycling that the scheme will facilitate in creating.

Having taken part in the panel discussion, Floor Uitterhoeve, sustainability director for Europe at McDonald’s says: “At McDonald’s, we support innovation that allows better collection, sorting, treatment, and processing of different fibers into new quality products.”

“Waste streams can be efficiently repurposed with the right interventions. While we embark on this journey with other industry leaders, we are confident this program will contribute to retaining more value from the waste streams disposed of in the public space.”

On the day of the event, Seda International Packaging Group, innovative sustainable packaging solutions provider, decided to also be part of the Cup Collective initiative.

“Now that the necessary groundwork has been put in place, we must take advantage of the vast potential paper cups hold as a secondary raw material and facilitate the mass recycling of a product with so many potential uses,” adds Armando Mariano, R&D material & product director at SEDA International.

“Paper cups are fully recyclable, and the Cup Collective takes care that each and one of them is effectively recycled and transformed into high-quality products,” Mariano continues.

With the Cup Collective bins already installed across Brussels and set to expand across Belgium and into the Netherlands, companies can now take part in the program to capture the value of used paper cups and unlock their potential secondary usages.

Edited by Natalie Schwertheim


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