Greener Package reports that Seven Starbucks stores in Manhattan have launched a cup-recycling program in cooperation with Global Green USA’s Coalition for Resource Recovery (CORR). The pilot will test the collection and recycling of coffee cups when combined with old corrugated cardboard (OCC), which CORR says is the most extensively recycled material in the U.S. The objective of the program is to develop a cost-effective mechanism to close the loop on paper packaging, reducing greenhouse gases and assisting municipalities in reaching their solid waste diversion goals.
Starbucks participation in the pilot is an extension of the company’s efforts to develop a comprehensive recyclable cup solution by 2012. While Starbucks paper coffee cups can be recycled and composted in some communities, most commercial and residential services are not currently able to process this form of packaging. “In addition to the cup design, it’s critical that we address the full product life cycle—including the recycling collection infrastructure,” says Jim Hanna, Starbucks director of Environmental Impact. “Any enduring solution will require collaboration with stakeholders across the value chain.”
For the pilot, Western Michigan University’s Coating and Recycling Pilot plants tested a representative sample of the cups used in Starbucks stores and certified them as OCC-E, offering equivalent recyclability and repulpability as old corrugated cardboard using the Fibre Box Association’s Wax Alternative Protocol.
Paper bag manufacturer Duro Bag is designing a special paper bin liner so cups can be collected and recycled along with the corrugated cardboard. The prototype bag will be tested as part of the trial. Action Carting, the largest commercial carter in New York City, is collecting the bags along with the corrugated cardboard.
Pratt Industries will recycle a trial run of the bags and their contents, testing them for their recyclability and repulpability compared to existing feedstock at the company’s mill on Staten Island. Pratt’s Sustainable Design Incubator provided design guidance for the pilot, which is being coordinated and monitored by Global Green USA. Results of the pilot will be available in November.
According to CoRR, every year, 58 billion paper cups are used in the U.S. at restaurants, events, and homes. If all paper cups in the U.S. were recycled, 645,000 tons of waste would be diverted from landfills each year, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2.5 million mtCO2e, equivalent to removing 450,000 passenger cars from the road.
Read more at: Greener Package