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Go-Pak visits James Cropper Paper Mill

Oct 18, 2021News

Go-Pak visits James Cropper Paper Mill to see Coffee Cup Recycling in Action

As a large manufacturer of paper cups for the UK, Europe and USA, Go-Pak is always pleased to see its coffee cups being recycled and to contribute to making recycling a bigger part of the food service disposables industry.

James Cropper is a hugely impressive business with the capacity to recycle 500 million cups per year, with both PE and PLA coated cups upcycled at its facility in Cumbria, and it was great to see the process in action on a recent visit:

(The Go-Pak team stand by tons of used coffee cups waiting to be recycled)

James Cropper has been particularly visionary in this area investing heavily in cup recycling, using the fibre gained from the cups to make a variety of speciality papers for their many customers who give these old cups a second life as new paper products such as greeting cards and packaging. James Cropper is not the only mill to be proactive in recycling coffee cups with DS Smith’s mill in Kemsley vowing to recycle 2.5 billion cups a year.

The recycling of PE lined and PLA lined paper cups is well established within the UK where there is more than enough capacity to recycle the entire annual usage of disposable cups to turn used coffee cups into paper and then onto new paper products.

(Tons of PE and PLA lining from recycling used coffee cups is collected to allow fibre to be made into new paper reels)

In the recycling process in these mills the plastic lining is effectively separated from the paper fibre. Only selected PE and PLA lined cups are recycled as the current process is not able to separate or contain the microplastics in new ‘aqueous’ coated paper material, which would ultimately result in the microplastics finding their way into the water system. Armed with this knowledge, Go-Pak has made the decision, at this stage, pending further investigation, that the manufacture of ‘aqueous’ coated paper cups is not a viable option, due to the inherent problem that these cups cannot be recycled without microplastics being released into water systems.

Go-Pak would like to thank the entire team at James Cropper for an excellent visit and commend them for the valuable work they are doing to keep paper cups out of landfill and contributing to a circular economy.