coffee cups used
Image courtesy of Stora Enso and Aspectus

Stora Enso, Huhtamaki target paper cups

Initiative from two global companies will focus on collecting, recycling paper cups.

September 14, 2022

Huhtamaki and Stora Enso, both based in Finland but with global operations, say they have joined forces to launch a paper cup recycling initiative called The Cup Collective. The program is being described as  the first of its kind in Europe, aiming to “recycle and capture the value of used paper cups on an industrial scale.”

The program will start in the Benelux countries (Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg), with the two companies adding they have issued “an open invitation for partners from across the supply chain to get involved in working toward a systemic European solution.”

The EU has set recycling target for paper and board packaging of 85 percent by 2030, say the two companies. Stora Enso is a paper and board producer that recently purchased a containerboard mill in the Netherlands. Huhtamaki makes packaging products with molded pulp and other materials, some with recovered paper content.

“The Cup Collective initiative will create the necessary collection infrastructure to significantly increase the recycling rate of wood-fiber in paper cups,” the companies say. They say the program will be designed to make it easy for household consumers and businesses to collect used paper cups so they can be converted into recycled-content raw materials.

“Huhtamaki is a world leader in developing and manufacturing recyclable fiber products,” says Eric Le Lay, president, Fiber Foodservice EAO at Huhtamaki. “For us, every cup counts. We want to go to the next step and ensure that recyclable cups also get effectively recycled. We have combined the best expertise from Huhtamaki and Stora Enso to create this new vision for industrial scale cup collection and recycling.”

Hannu Kasurinen, executive vice president at Stora Enso, says, “Stora Enso wants to accelerate the circularity of all packaging materials and we have an excellent foundation to make that happen. The paperboards we make are designed to be recycled and our own production sites, including Langerbrugge in Belgium, can process and recycle paper cups into new fiber-based products.”

The first paper cup collection bins will be available in restaurants, cafés, office buildings and transport hubs in the Brussels and Amsterdam metropolitan areas. The Cup Collective aims to recycle half a billion paper cups in the first two years and, if scalable as designed, has the capacity to significantly increase recycling volumes in Europe, say the companies.

The program will be managed by Co-cre8, a United Kingdom-based firm with more than a decade of experience in designing and implementing recycling programs in Europe.

While The Cup Collective initially is being financed by two companies, “a key factor in the success of The Cup Collective will be its ability to become self-funding in the future,” according to Stora Enso and Huhtamaki.