Frugalpac joins Paper Cup Recovery and Recycling Group

Frugalpac, the innovative British packaging company which has created a revolutionary new paper coffee cup, has joined the industry’s Paper Cup Recovery and Recycling Group.

Frugalpac developed that cup to help solve the problem that only 1 in 400 is currently recycled in the UK and most end up in landfill.

The Frugalpac cup is made from recycled paper, is competitively priced and recyclable in normal paper mills. Another advantage is that it can be disposed of in normal recycling street bins that accept newspaper and magazines.

Starbucks have already agreed to evaluate the Frugalpac cup, which featured in Hugh Fearnley- Whittingstall’s War on Waste programme on BBC Television in July, with a view to trialling it.

Since then, Frugalpac has been inundated with inquiries from retailers, manufacturers and intermediaries and is set to announce a new test and trial programme with a major High Street chain.

It has now decided to join The Paper Cup Recovery and Recycling Group, which is made up of pioneering organisations from across the paper cup supply chain, including: paper cup manufacturers, retailers, recycling and waste management companies and paper re-processors.

Fellow members include coffee retailers Starbucks, Costa, Caffè Nero and Pret as well as cup manufacturers Seda, Huhtamaki UK and Benders Cups.

The Paper Cup Recovery and Recycling Group issused its Paper Cup Manifesto earlier this year with the objective of significantly increasing paper cup recovery and recycling rates by 2020.

The manifesto pledges that “the paper cup supply chain agrees to work together to ensure paper cups are designed, used, disposed of and collected to maximise the opportunities for recycling by further investment and funding of recycling, disposal and collection projects.”

Commenting on the announcements, Frugalpac founder Martin Myerscough: “Whilst we believe Frugalpac is a ground-breaking innovation, we recognise our cup is only part of the overall solution. That’s why Frugalpac has decided to play our part by joining the PCRRG and working with companies across the paper cup supply chain. Design, recovery and recycling are all equally important.

“We think Frugalpac’s ability to be disposed of in conventional recycling bins along with newspaper and magazines will really be able to make a big difference and we look forward in helping the PCRRG in find solutions across the supply chain.”

Adrian Pratt, Vice Chairman of the Paper Cup Recovery and Recycling Group commented: “We’re delighted that Frugalpac has joined the PCRRG. As we spelt out in our Paper Cup Manifesto, we very much encourage collaboration across the entire paper cup supply chain and see this as the key to the success of addressing the issue. The more members and signatories there are will ensure we continue to collectively address the barriers to meet our objective of significantly increasing paper cup recovery and recycling rates by 2020.”

More than 2.5 billion takeaway coffee cups are currently disposed of in the UK every year. Put them end-to-end and they would go around the world five and a half times, would weigh as much as a battleship and are made from over 100,000 trees. But very few of these cups get recycled and nearly all end up in landfill – that’s 25,000 tonnes of waste a year – enough to fill London’s Royal Albert Hall.

Existing cups are made using virgin paper from mature trees. A thin layer of plastic film is bonded to the paper while it is flat. The film provides the waterproof layer to the cup, without which the cup would leak and go soft. Waterproof chemical agents are also added to the paper.

This flat sheet is then printed and formed into the cup. Existing cups require specialist recycling facilities because the plastic film does not separate from the paper in a normal recycling centre. The specialist process uses a lot more energy and chemicals than normal paper recycling. In most countries, once the cups have left the store, there is no mechanism for transporting them to specialist mills. At present, there are only two places in the whole of the UK that can recycle conventional paper cups which is why so few currently get recycled.

But Frugalpac cups are made from recycled paper which is formed into a cup first without adding chemicals to the paper. A thin preformed plastic liner is lightly bonded into the paper cup. The top of the liner is then rolled over the lip of the cup which looks, feels and performs just like the conventional cup.

Because the liner is so lightly glued in place, when the cup goes to the standard paper mills it separates from the paper in the recycling process. This means Frugalpac cups can be disposed of in newspaper recycling bins. This will help a confused public – a Which? report found 8 in 10 people thought existing cups were already being recycled!2 The paper used to make Frugalpac cups can be recycled up to seven times, typically for newspapers.