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McDonald's partners with James Cropper for pioneering recycling trial

Published by
Simon Matthis - 29 Jan 2016

British master papermaker James Cropper has announced a trial recycling partnership with McDonald’s UK, as the two explore pioneering moves in sustainability and recycling.

The partnership will enable paper cups used in McDonald’s restaurants across the UK, every week, to be recycled at James Cropper’s state-of-the-art reclaimed fibre plant – turning previously non-recyclable, plastic-coated paper cups into new paper products.

Richard Burnett, market development manager at James Cropper, 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 amongst 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. By collaborating with McDonald’s, we’re working towards an effective scheme that can recoup as many used paper cups as possible, which can then go back into the supply chain.”

The trial recycling scheme – a UK first – has been rolled out across 150 of McDonald’s 1250 UK restaurants so far.  Paper cups are collected from McDonald’s and then baled by Simply Cups, the UK’s only paper cup recovery and recycling scheme, before being delivered to James Cropper for reprocessing. Reclaimed fibre can then be used in everything from brochures and stationery to designer gift boxes.

Helen McFarlane, sustainability consultant at McDonald’s UK, 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 those cups gets another life”.

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