USA – US-based packaging solutions leader, Sonoco has announced the addition of paper cups in bales of mixed paper to be used as furnish for its Hartsville, South Carolina, paperboard mill.

The company’s Hartsville mill will accept paper cups in bales of mixed paper to be used as raw material for producing new paperboard.

Prior to this, Sonoco’s ten paper mills in the US had validated their acceptance of rigid paper cans in mixed paper bales from material recovery facilities (MRFs).

The company operates ten mills in various US states, including Tennessee, California, Wisconsin, South Carolina, Virginia, Massachusetts, Washington and Kansas.

Its latest announcement extends the acceptance of paper cups at the Hartsville mill, Sonoco said that further testing is underway with the intention of expanding the recycling of cups to all mills that make use of residential mixed paper.

The company’s Global Environment, Sustainability and Centralised Technology Vice-President Elizabeth Rhue said: “This is one of many steps Sonoco is taking to further our commitment to responsible material sourcing at our manufacturing operations while building material circularity into the broader industry.

“If a consumer recycles a paper cup or an EnviroCan paper container, and it is sorted into the mixed paper stream, the products can now be sent to our Hartsville mill to be turned into a number of new fiber products, including new EnviroCan containers.”

According to Natha Dempsey, President of the Foodservice Packaging Institute (FPI): “Paper cups are made with materials that are highly desirable to paper mills because of their ability to improve new products with recycled fiber.

“Those paper mills, including Sonoco, who are a part of the Paper Cup Alliance have committed to supporting the industry in building the infrastructure and developing the practices that make paper the best choice for anyone who cares about the future of our planet.”

Last October, Sonoco expanded the post-consumer recovery and recycling possibilities for its EnviroCan paper containers in the US.

Following confirmation that its mills could recycle EnviroCan paper containers in the residential mixed paper, the company decided to validate its ability to recycle similar poly-coated fiber-based containers through the post-consumer mixed paper stream.

In September last year, Sonoco partnered with technology start-up AMP Robotics to make spiral-wound paper canisters with steel bottoms more widely recyclable, reports Gateway packaging.

The partners would develop a material category within AMP’s neural network to identify and sort the paper cans.

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