FINLAND – Finnish consumer packaging company Huhtamaki has partnered with Stora Enso to launch a paper cup recycling initiative called The Cup Collective.

The companies claim the program is the first of its kind in Europe, aiming to “recycle and capture the value of used paper cups on an industrial scale.”

The program will start in the Benelux countries (Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg), with the two companies adding they have issued “an open invitation for partners from across the supply chain to get involved in working toward a systemic European solution.”

Eric Le Lay, President, Fiber Foodservice EAO at Huhtamaki said: “For us, every cup counts. We want to go to the next step and ensure that recyclable cups also get effectively recycled.

“We have combined the best expertise from Huhtamaki and Stora Enso to create this new vision for industrial scale cup collection and recycling.”

The EU has set a recycling target for paper and board packaging of 85 percent by 2030, say the two companies.

According to the European association representing the paper industry (Cepi), in 2021 71.4% of all paper and board consumed in Europe was recycled.

The Cup Collective initiative will create the necessary collection infrastructure to significantly increase the recycling rate of wood fiber in paper cups.

The program 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 program is managed by Co-cre8, a UK-based firm that designs and implements recycling programs across Europe.

Hannu Kasurinen, Executive Vice President of the Stora Enso Packaging Materials division said: “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 fiber-based products.”

While The Cup Collective initially is being financed by two companies, “a key factor in the success of The Cup Collective will be its ability to become self-funding in the future,” according to Stora Enso and Huhtamaki.

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