CupCycling: a creative solution to the landfill crisis

You'll have heard of 'UpCycling', but have you heard of 'CupCycling'?

Paul Scharf
By Paul Scharf
  • 24 October 2018
  • Reading time: 4 minutes
GF Smith Showspace

You might have heard of the phenomenon of 'UpCycling' - where people take by-products, waste materials and items that are generally not wanted anymore and turn them into something useful. Well, CupCycling isn't far off that concept at all. And it's just as useful. 

Streamline has written in the past about the current crisis with disposable cups and it's a topic they're keeping a keen eye on. For Streamline, it's about laying out all the options for their clients, and sustainable environmentally friendly solutions are fast becoming common choices for many brands. The team at Streamline is always excited to let people know when an ingenious solution comes on the market. 

In the UK alone 2.5 billion takeaway paper cups are consigned to landfill every year and the major issue in environmental terms is that the polyethylene plastic cup liner is non-biodegradable. However, a recent innovation by paper merchant G . F Smith and our partner, paper mill James Cropper PLC is addressing this problem.

Waste coffee and tea paper cups are collected from a variety of retailers and other sources and sent to a “CupCycling” extraction plant at the paper mill in Cumbria. The plastic liner is extracted and goes to make cable insulation and other plastic products, and the precious paper fibres are then mixed with sustainably sourced virgin fibre to create a beautiful new 10-colour range of paper and boards called Extract. This pioneering development in paper technology has created something beautiful out of used paper cups (and plastic waste which would lie dormant in landfill sites around the UK.)

It’s forward thinking initiatives like this that are breaking the boundaries of ‘the norm’, creatively addressing the environmental issues we face on a daily basis.

Could you see your brand using the likes of Extract paper as part of your next marketing campaign? Whether or not your sustainable credentials are something that help you live up to your brand values, meet industry initiatives or just help you sleep better at night – the options are very much out there. If disposables are a big part of your brand (even if that doesn’t include cups) it may be something you’d like to consider. Streamline is always delighted to consult on the various options that are out there and guide you to a solution that’s going to work for you, so why not give them a try

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