Stora Enso, a Finnish manufacturer of pulp, paper and other forest products, has announced its plan to start recycling used paper cups on a large scale at its Langerbrugge Mill in Belgium, as part of its commitment towards a renewable and circular business.
The firm said it has completed production trials to ensue technical feasibility to recycle paper cups for use in other paper applications.
In order to ensure that high-quality fiber material is captured and used for other application, Stora Enso is seeking partnerships for the collection and sorting of used paper cups.
The paper board used for cups is made of renewable fibers, which is claimed to have several lives due to recycling. However, the life cycle carbon footprint of the paper cup, upon recycling, is reduced by half.
Considering this as opportunity for driving more effective paper cup recycling, Stora Enso said it intends to develop circular models with partners.
Stora Enso Consumer Board division executive vice president Annica Bresky said: “With efficient recycling processes, food service companies using wood fibre-based cups can improve their environmental footprint.
“Recycling must be made easy for consumers, that is why we want to invite partners and customers to jointly develop business models for collecting paper cups.”
During the recycling trials at Langerbrugge Mill, the firm collected half a million baled post-consumer paper cups from fast food restaurants and coffee houses to re-pulp and recycle into magazine paper.
The trials confirmed the feasibility of recycling paper cups at the mill without additional process equipment. It also ensured that the fibers are suited for other paper applications, including magazine paper production.
Stora Enso Langerbrugge Mill multifuel & business innovation sourcing manager Rik Van Bostraeten said: “We see paper cups as a valuable raw material for our process. Used paper cups provide a potential source of high-quality fiber for the production of magazine paper.
“Langerbrugge Mill has the technical readiness to accept billions of used cups for recycling within our sourcing area. The challenge is more about getting these cups to us on the industrial scale that our production would require.”
Located in Continental Europe, Stora Enso’s Langerbrugge Mill is equipped to produce 540 000 tons of recycled newsprint and magazine papers annually.