The Queen of England last week dedicated a new recycling facility that is the first of its kind devoted to recycling paper coffee cups.
Most paper coffee cups contain approximately 5 percent plastic coating, in order to keep liquid from softening the paper, in the process making the cups non-recyclable. Now British specialty paper manufacturer James Cropper Company says it has a solution, unveiled at its new facility in Cumbria, in Northwest England.
The process involves softening the cup waste in a warmed solution, separating the plastic coating from the paper fibers, the company said in an announcement. The plastic is skimmed off, pulverized and recycled, leaving water and pulp. Impurities are filtered out leaving high grade pulp suitable for use in luxury papers and packaging materials.
JC says some 2.5 billion paper cups enter the waste stream in the UK alone each year.
“Cup waste is a rich source of high-grade pulp fiber, but until now the plastic content made this product a contaminant in paper recycling,” says Mark Cropper, chairman of James Cropper. “Our technology changes that and also addresses a major environmental waste problem and accompanying legislation. We are greatly honoured that Her Majesty The Queen and The Princess Royal are joining us on the occasion of our new plant opening. There is no more fitting way to celebrate this pioneering development.”