PAPER CUP GROUP: THE MODEL FOR RECYCLING?
The Paper Cup Recovery and Recycling Group (PCRRG) recently held its first members’ meeting of 2021. With representatives from the whole supply chain from converting to recycling, the PCRRG has made enormous progress in driving the collection and recycling of paper cups. Such progress has brought it to the attention of a wider packaging sector, particularly the facility for the public to return used cups to a large number (4 000+) of coffee shops irrespective of where the coffee was purchased. This is a model other forms of packaging can copy.
With EPR still planned for 2023, the FPA believes it is important to establish the principle that if a voluntary agreement can manage the collection and recycling of a packaging item better than conventional waste management, it should be able to flourish with participants offsetting the cups/packaging recycled under the scheme against their EPR bills. Membership fees and costs involved in scheme projects should also be offset. This will, of course, require third party auditing to prove recycling claims.
The FPA would like to see all those selling coffee in paper cups encouraged to take back used cups with simple facilities to do so and a system administrator set up to manage the scheme. Supermarkets already take back films and flexibles and there is a scheme for recycling coffee pods. The FPA would like to more similar similar schemes and government reassurance that all items recycled in this way will be recognised and costs of participation deducted from EPR bills.
A red line must be in place to ensure that packaging will not be double charged, so that cups returned and recycled are not charged and that all cups placed on market which are subsequently recycled under the cup scheme are also not charged. The PCRRG has established an excellent model for others to follow.