United Kingdom – Paper cup manufacturer James Cropper is collaborating with the McDonald’s fast food chain in the UK to trial a programme in the hope of inspiring ‘pioneer moves in sustainability and recycling’. The scheme involves 150 of McDonald’s 1250 locations countrywide.
The partnership will see McDonald’s previously non-recyclable, plastic-coated paper cups recycled at James Cropper’s reclaimed fibre plant, where up to 90% of every container will be transformed into new paper products. The recycling facility treats the equivalent of 10 million paper cups per week from the offcuts of cup manufacturers.
‘It is estimated that up to 2.5 billion paper cups are used in the UK every year,’ says Richard Burnett, James Cropper’s market development manager. He stresses that the polyethylene-coated packaging cannot be recycled together with regular household waste.
‘In addition, collecting used paper cups for recycling has been problematic due to the nature of their use – they’re used on the go and are often taken away from the place of purchase,’ he explains.
Paper cups constitute roughly 30% of McDonald’s packaging waste, notes the company’s sustainability consultant Helen McFarlane. ‘We’re eager to see what this trial will look like, hopefully helping set up the infrastructure for others to use in future,’ she adds.
The fast food chain has recently started to introduce recycling stations in its restaurants to allow customers to separate paper cups.