Packaging News: US technology company launches mineral based paper coffee cups

With the recent controversy about the low rates of coffee cup recycling, Smart Planet said ReCups are made to be easier to recycle.

The UK allows paper cups to be declared recyclable based upon the recyclability of its material, even if they are not being recycled.

In practice traditional paper cups are so difficult to recycle, as shown in the BBC Hugh’s War on Waste programme. The majority of coffee cups in the UK go to landfill; a problem being addressed by the recently formed Paper Cup Manifesto.

The ReCUP is engineered for recyclability in existing recycling infrastructure, which is one of the biggest challenges with getting paper cups recycled.

Will Lorenzi, president, Smart Planet Technologies, told Packaging News the ReCUP has passed recyclability pilots, uses existing manufacturing equipment, doesn’t cost more, uses far less plastic, and works just as well as a regular paper cup.

Unlike traditional paper cups with complete plastic coating inside – which provides a barrier to hold the liquid and seal the cup at the seam – the ReCup’s Earth Coating is a mineral blended plastic made of 40% calcium carbonate and 60% low-density polyethylene.

EarthCoating is a mineralized resin that functions as a barrier coating for various paperboard packaging types.

The packaging technology company said ReCup’s coating can break into small, dense particles while being recycled, making the material easier to process.

A cup with a coating made completely of plastic would clog recycling equipment by breaking into flakes.

Smart Planet has been developing the ReCup for about two years. How2Recycle has independently determined the coating to be a non-contaminant.

Lorenzi added: “Since we can substantiate that our cups can be processed profitably through standard recycling infrastructure in the UK, then the recyclable label would be appropriate for our cups in the UK, and therefore would be the first step in solving the problem of the lack of paper cup recycling.”