From: Packaging News
Smart Planet Technologies has announced what it insists is the first commercially-available paper cup engineered for recycling through traditional paper recycling systems.
Now available for order, the reCUP, manufactured for the UK market by Cup Print, is a double wall paper cup engineered to be processable through standard paper recycling processes and equipment, just as uncoated paperboards are – its paper fibers can be recycled up to seven times.
This is primarily due to a change in the interior coating which makes paper cups fully processable in traditional paper recycling systems.
Smart Planet is a materials engineering company which licenses its patented technologies for use in the market and enables use of more sustainable materials and design in products, while maintaining functionality and performance.
It is estimated that 2.5 billion paper coffee cups wind up in UK landfills annually, as traditional paper cups have a 100% polyethylene plastic liner that is incompatible with standard recycling processes. Additional processes to remove this liner by the few specialist recyclers may add cost and degrade fiber quality to tissue grade for single use.
Will Lorenzi, president of Smart Planet Technologies, said the company re-engineered the cup to be fully functional and fully processable with traditional recycling systems by changing the coating formulation, and has passed EU specifications tests.
“With that, the paper cups become valuable materials to recover profitably along with other recovered paperboards, without having to put in extensive infrastructure changes to the recycling industry.
“The new coating formulation is named EarthCoating, and the cup is named the reCUP. The cups look the same, work the same, are manufactured with the same equipment at full line speeds. We’ve just changed the coating formulation, and the recyclers receive materials that are fully compatible with traditional paper recycling equipment. The use of EarthCoating can go beyond just paper cups, as it is a drop-in replacement for traditional plastic barrier coatings as a whole, improving the recyclability of other coated paperboard applications, such as takeaway trays, and frozen food packaging. EarthCoating lets coated paperboard products be recoverable as a paper product, rather than undesirable as a mixed material.”