Papermaker James Cropper is trialling a recycling partnership where it will recycle paper cups from McDonalds restaurants in the UK.
The trial has so far been rolled out to 150 of McDonald’s 1,250 UK restaurants.
Paper cups are collected and baled by Simply Cups, the UK’s only paper cup recovery and recycling scheme, before being sent to James Cropper for recycling.
The process leads to 90% of the material being turned back into fibre for paper production and the remaining 10%, which is plastic, used for the production of garden furniture.
James Cropper market development manager Richard Burnett said: “It’s estimated that up to 2.5 billion paper cups are used in the UK every year.
“Most of these are currently not recycled as, being polyethylene coated, they can’t be recycled among ordinary household waste. In addition, collecting used paper cups for recycling has been problematic due to the nature of their use – they’re used on the go and are often taken away from the place of purchase.
“The partnership with McDonald’s has been nearly two years in the making and signifies an important step towards recycling used paper cups, and ultimately, reducing waste going to landfill.”
McDonald’s UK sustainability consultant Helen McFarlane added: “Paper cups constitute about 30% of our packaging waste and this is a great opportunity to ensure that the quality fibre used in making these cups gets another life.
“We have recently started to introduce recycling stations in our restaurants to allow customers to separate paper cups, and we’re eager to see what this trial with James Cropper and Simply Cups will look like, hopefully helping set up the infrastructure for others to use in future.”