Short explainer video showing why traditional paper cups are NOT being recycled and how EarthCoating® may be used to solve the problem.

Paper cups made with EarthCoating® may be easily pulped into recycled paper using conventional paper recycling equipment

How it works:

Bales of used paper cups are put into a "pulper" which is filled with hot liquids and uses high-speed blades to churn the materials into paper pulp. During this process, the fibers separate from the plastic coating along with any food and dirt particles. The fibers float to the top of the pulper, leaving the food and dirt particles to sink to the bottom where they are captured as waste.  

Unfortunately, traditional paper cups are made with a plastic coating that floats to the top of the pulper along with the fibers, causing problems. These light plastic flakes clog the recycling screens and prove too difficult for recyclers to process through their equipment. As a result, traditional paper cups are not accepted by recyclers and over 50 billion of them get sent to U.S. landfills each year. 

However, because EarthCoating® is a mineralized resin, it fractures into small, dense particles which sink in the pulper, leaving the fibers to easily move forward in the process. Also, any EarthCoating® particles that get trapped in the fibers as they float to the top of the pulper are small enough to pass through the recycling screens without any problems. These small, dense particles then enter into the secondary and fine cleaners where they are captured, leaving only the fibers to enter into the paper making phase of the process.

For more detailed information on this process, download our Repulping Report.

EarthCoating® uses 40-51% less plastic than traditional coatings

In addition to making paper cups valuable to collect and easy to process into recycled paper, EarthCoating® offers an immediate 40-51% plastic reduction compared to traditional plastic coatings.

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Getting reCUPs recycled starts with a closed-loop collection process

Now that reCUPs are valuable to collect and easy to pulp into recycled paper, we need to increase usage so there are lots of them for recyclers to collect. Here is our three phased approach to solving the the problem:

  • We've started the reCUP® Recycling Initiative, a closed-loop collection program for reCUP® users. See details listed below.
  • Use invisible inks on reCUPs so that optical sorting equipment may be used to identify them during the sorting process at the MRF.
  • Create enough demand for paper mills who produce cup stock to switch from traditional plastic coatings to EarthCoating®.

Introducing the 'reCUP® Recycling Initiative'

To demonstrate how reCUPs may be used to solve the paper cup recycling problem, we've put together a closed-loop collection program here in Southern California (where we're located).

1. reCUPs made with EarthCoating are now commercially available.

2. Local retailers are using reCUPs to serve coffee and other beverages to their customers.

3. A local recycling hauler picks up the recycled reCUPs and brings them to the MRF. 

4. Local MRF (materials recovery facility) purchases the recycled reCUPs from the recycling hauler. The materials get baled.

5. Recycled paper mills purchase the bales of recycled reCUPs and turn the materials into recycled paper.

6. Packaging companies purchase the recycled paper from the mill and turn it into recycled packaging to sell to local retailers.

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We're also currently working with strategic manufacturers, distributors, recyclers and general partners throughout the globe to have reCUPs become widely available and accepted as recyclable. To start, we encourage you to order reCUPs today and work with us to get your local recycler to accept reCUPs as part of their paper recycling program. 

Traditional paper cups go to landfills

Traditional paper cups are made with a plastic coating that breaks into large, light flakes during the paper repulping process. The resulting mess clogs recycling machines and wreaks havoc on the environment.

an innovative solution is available

Instead of 100% plastic, reCUPs are made using EarthCoating® technology, an award-winning mineral-based coating alternative that's engineered to make paper cups worth collecting and profitable to recycle.

everything stays the same

reCUPs look, feel and function exactly like traditional paper cups, and the manufacturing process is the same too. The only difference is that reCUPs are are made with EarthCoating and are easy for recyclers to process.