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Dutch coffee cups find second life as toilet paper

Recycling and waste management major Renewi has given new life to 11 million disposable coffee cups in the Netherlands this year through its circular collaboration with cup propducer Beautiful Cups.

According to Renewi, the Beautiful Cups are ‘ideally suited’ for recycling into a secondary raw material as they consist of 95% paper/cardboard and 5% plastic. Renewi collects the cups in special bags from Dutch businesses. The cups are transported to Renewi’s Breda site to be baled before being sent to Renewi’s processing partner, WEPA to separate the PE plastic interior of the cup from the cardboard exterior using specialist technology. The paper is recycled into toilet paper and the  plastic is recycled separately.

Saving the rainforest

The Beautiful Cups are Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified and for every 7 000 cups that are recycled, a new tree is planted in the Sumatra rainforest in Indonesia. ‘Over 3 000 trees have been planted in the rainforest so far and the goal is to plant another 10 000 trees,’ says Renewi . ‘This will create a CO2 reduction of more than 13 000 tonnes, which is the equivalent to over 12 hectares of new rainforest,’ the company adds.

More countries to follow

In the next three years, Renewi and Beautiful Cups expect to increase the number of cups that are recycled to over 50 million cups each year. The Beautiful Cups concept will be available in ten countries next year and will support the world’s three largest rainforests.

Otto de Bont, managing director of Renewi’s Commercial Waste Netherlands Division comments: ‘It is a completely circular process as the products made from the cups can be supplied back to the original customer, in addition to making a difference to our planet through planting new trees in our largest rainforests.’

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