10th OCTOBER EAC INQUIRY INTO DISPOSABLE COFFEE CUPS LAUNCHES
Following the Environmental Audit Committee re-opening the inquiry into disposable coffee cups and plastic bottles, the evidence sessions commence on Tuesday 10th October at 10.15am in parliament. The inquiry will address the damage being done to the environment by disposable drinks packaging, with a focus on coffee cups and plastic bottles. The inquiry will review what actions are being taken by the industry to reduce waste generated by coffee cups and plastic bottles, and explore potential solutions. The inquiry received over 100 submissions of evidence. The evidence session has called Martin Myerscough alongside other key stakeholders, including Costa Coffeeand Keep Britain Tidy.
Frugalpac is challenging the industry to do better in a bid to put an end to the fact that only 1 in 400 paper coffee cups are currently being recycled, with the rest ending up in landfill. Put end-to-end these cups would go around the world five and a half times, they’re made from over 100,000 trees and equate to 25,000 tonnes of waste a year – enough to fill London’s Royal Albert Hall.
With increasing attention on food and packaging waste across the industry, and in light of a proposed deposit-and-refund-scheme for disposable cups and plastic bottles, Frugalpac applauds any initiative that reduces waste, but urges the industry to find a solution that is scalable, achievable with existing consumer behaviour and uses the current waste collection systems. Frugalpac says that this is not a case of changing the infrastructure to solve this issue – but instead the cups themselves.
The problem arises with the way in which conventional coffee cups are made. Current cups are made using virgin paper from mature trees - a thin layer of plastic film is then bonded to the paper while it is flat, waterproofing chemical agents are also then added to the paper. The plastic film inside the cup is not only bonded tightly to the paper but is also trapped in the seam, adding to the difficulty of recycling. Existing cups require specialist recycling facilities because the plastic film does not separate from the paper in a standard recycling centre. The specialist process uses a lot more energy and chemicals than normal paper recycling and specialist transport is required to deliver them to these facilities. At present, there are only a couple of places in the UK that can recycle conventional paper cups.
Frugalpac has created a scalable solution to the coffee cup crisis, with the launch of its new Frugal Cup - a disposable coffee cup made from recycled cardboard that can be processed by any UK paper recycling facility. Frugal Cup is made by making the paper into a cup first, without adding chemicals to the recycled paper, and then applying a thin plastic liner to the inside, the plastic liner is then lightly bonded onto the paper cup. The top of the liner is then rolled over the lip of the cup which looks, feels and performs just like the conventional cup. As the liner is so lightly glued in place, when the cup goes to the standard paper mills it easily separates from the paper in the recycling process. This means Frugal Cups can be disposed of in any paper or newspaper recycling bins, and recycled by any paper mill. Not only are Frugal Cups made from recycled paper, the paper can be recycled and reused up to 7 times.