Denver to recycle paper cups

Denver to recycle paper cups

Alpine Waste & Recycling, Foodservice Packaging Institute partner to introduce paper cup recycling in the city.

December 3, 2018

Pictured above: Denver Councilwoman Kendra Black; Foodservice Packaging Institute's Lynn Dyer and Natha Dempsey; Alpine Waste & Recycling's Brent Hildebrand; Denver Public Works' Eulois Cleckley and Charlotte Pitt; and Sustana's Mark Bond 

Denver Department of Public Works and members of the Denver City Council announced the city would begin recycling paper cups as of Friday, Nov. 30. According to a news release on the city of Denver’s website, the city is able to recycle paper cups as a result of a partnership with the Foodservice Packaging Institute, Falls Church, Virginia, and Alpine Waste & Recycling, Denver. 

The city added a purple cart to all Denver households to enable residents to recycle paper coffee and soda cups, according to reports on the city’s website.

Alpine Waste & Recycling, which processes about 40,000 tons of recyclables for Denver each year the city reports, also plans to help Denver Public Works process paper cups through Sustana, De Pere, Wisconsin. Sustana serves as a pulp mill that has committed to recycling paper cups.

According to a news release from Sustana, the company has a technology that can strip polycoated lining from cups so that the rest of the paper cup can be recycled. Sustana partnered with Alpine Waste & Recycling, Denver, in September to implement this technology.

Earlier this fall, Alpine Waste & Recycling—in conjunction with the Foodservice Packaging Institute and its Community Partnership program—agreed to an arrangement that would allow all environmentally conscious coffee shop patrons to begin tossing their empty cups into recycling bins, assuming the coffee shop has a pickup arrangement with Alpine, Sustana reports. 

According to Sustana, Alpine’s executives expressed interest more than a year ago in recycling coffee cups in Denver. Some studies have indicated to Alpine that its recycling plant may receive up to five tons of coffee cups per month with the start of this program, depending on consumer awareness, Sustana reports. 

“Since its origin 20 years ago, Alpine has promoted a sense of innovation and environmental stewardship in the industry,” says Brent Hildebrand, vice president of recycling at Alpine Waste & Recycling, in a news release for the city of Denver. “We’re proud to have a role in which cups can now be recycled and turned into new cups or other products, with help from companies like Sustana.”

Through the new arrangement, recycled cups enter into the Alpine Waste & Recycling plant. The company then sends the cups to Sustana to be smashed into a pulp before being shipped to paper mills, according to a news release in the Denver Post newspaper.

Denver expanding its recycling program to include paper cups will help to advance the city’s goal of increasing its recycling rate to 34 percent, the national average, as outlined in Mayor Michael B. Hancock’s 2020 Sustainability Goals, the city reports in a news release.

The city also plans to send postcards to residents that will educate them on how to recycle paper cups correctly.