Paper Cups To Be Reprocessed At Carton Recycling Plant

Post-consumer paper cups collected and baled by Simply Waste Solutions
Post-consumer paper cups collected and baled by Simply Waste Solutions

Simply Waste Solutions has announced it will now collect and supply used cups to the UK’s only food and drink carton recycling plant.

ACE UK has assessed the capability of this technology to process paper drinking cups and, through its partnership with the plant operator Sonoco Alcore, will be able to recycle cups, alongside cartons, into new paper products.

Simply Waste, the logistics arm of the Simply Cups paper cup recycling scheme, has been in discussions with ACE UK since 2014 to understand how to ensure cup material can meet all the plant’s infeed quality standards, by eliminating contaminants before the used material reaches the facility.

“The process has not been easy, and challenges have needed to be overcome, but with advice from ACE UK we have developed a formula where we can now supply consistently high-quality, uncontaminated bulk-loads of used paper cups for reprocessing; a standard that no other waste management company has yet achieved on a consistent basis.”

Simply Waste Solutions is the only current supplier of used cups to the plant and offers the Simply Cups scheme access to this reprocessor as one of a number of recycling options.

Pulper and conveyor at the ACE UK food and drink carton recycling plant
Pulper and conveyor at the ACE UK food and drink carton recycling plant

James Capel, Simply Waste’s CEO and Founder, commented: “This arrangement is the culmination of an initial discussion with ACE UK over two years ago. The process has not been easy, and challenges have needed to be overcome, but with advice from ACE UK we have developed a formula where we can now supply consistently high-quality, uncontaminated bulk-loads of used paper cups for reprocessing; a standard that no other waste management company has yet achieved on a consistent basis.

“Although every cup we’ve ever collected has been recycled into new products, the new processes that have been put into place, and the new opportunity to recycle at the ACE UK facility, will give added assurance to the growing number of Simply Cups’ members that the quality of their used cups now reaches the highest possible standards which will only make the recycling process more efficient.”

ACE UK’s dedicated carton recycling facility was opened in 2013 and was a major milestone in the organisation’s drive to increase food and drink carton recycling across the UK. The plant is capable of recycling up to 40% of the cartons manufactured each year for the UK food and drink market and processes cartons collected through the industry’s own bring bank system, or from the 64 per cent of UK local authorities which collect cartons for recycling at kerbside.

Mandy Kelly, ACE UK’s Senior Recycling Manager, commented: “Our facility was designed to recycle food and drink cartons. As such paper cups can only be recycled as a limited percentage of the overall processing capacity and cartons will always take precedence.

“In order to accept cups into the process we have had to set rigorous standards. Simply Waste has worked hard to hone its own processes to meet our rigorous requirements and quality standards, to successfully make cup recycling a reality at our facility.”

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