Recycle Your Coffee Cup
Posted: 15 Jun 2017

As a local manufacturer, we go to great lengths to design and source our products to be ethically and environmentally responsible from long standing local and global suppliers. We monitor our suppliers on their performance against a range of key indicators such as environmental sustainability, international labour laws, business ethics and food safety compliance. We retain control of almost every step of the manufacturing process including dispatch from our factories in Arndell Park, New South Wales and Brisbane, Queensland.

An important part of the design process is the study of local waste collection and recycling facilities to ensure that our products are constructed to align with current recycling collection and recycling facilities.

Following the ABC television program War on Waste screened on Tuesday 30 May 2017, we have received several questions from our customers such as:

Castaway Paper Coffee Cups – Are they recyclable?

The short answer is yes. We are grateful for the public airing that the ABC has given this important issue. From the best knowledge available to us, the information on the War on Waste program was mostly correct:

  • Paper coffee cups are made from paper.
  • The paper is coated with a polyethylene lining (PE).
  • PE is a plastic product.
  • Both PE and paper are recyclable.

The bigger question the program raised was whether the recyclable cups are being recycled.

The program concluded, rightly, that there was confusion and lack of information about the recyclability of the paper coffee cup; and an awareness and education program is necessary. The ABC TV program left the impression that no coffee cups are being recycled in Australia. This is incorrect. In fact, most, if not all recycling facilities in Australia are recycling PE lined paper board products such as milk cartons and coffee cups.

Is enough being done in Australia to recycle paper cups?

No, we would like to see all paper coffee cups recycled.

What’s MPM Marketing Services doing about it?

MPM Marketing Services is a foundation member of the Australian Packaging Covenant’s (APC) ‘Polymer Coated Paperboard Working Group’ and is actively involved in this government and industry initiative working to address sustainability issues in the packaging industry. The APC published a media release on 31 May 2017 which refers to a ‘Recyclability of Takeaway Coffee Cups in Australia’ Issues Paper.

The Issues Paper cites a recent study that found that polymer coated paper (PCP) under normal conditions is ‘easily’ able to be recycled when co-mingled with ‘mixed’ fibre and ‘cardboard’1, and that nearly 700 tonnes of paper cups are already being recovered and re-processed into ‘paperboard’2. As discussed in the Issue Paper, we recognise that not enough is being done.

As a responsible manufacturing business, we are always conducting research and collaborating with suppliers to develop more sustainable paper products with the full product life cycle in mind. This will continue while we work with our industry, waste collection and MRF peers to make all Castaway products more sustainable and better for the Australian and New Zealand recycling streams.

Additionally, as part of our Australian Packaging Covenant on product stewardship, we are committed to educating both our customers and consumers about the life cycle of our products so they can make informed decisions regarding food safety, ethical sourcing and of course product disposal options.

We will continue to update our customers as new information is available regarding this important issue.

Download ‘Recycle Your Coffee Cup’ PDF

ISSUES PAPER: Recyclability of takeaway coffee cups in Australia

 

1 Industry Edge, Research into Australian Polymer Coated Fibre, Packaging(PCP) Material Flows and Collection, Recovery and Recycling Opportunities.
2 APC Issues Paper- Recyclability of takeaway coffee cups in Australia, Polymer-coated Paperboard Working Group (PCPBWG) May 2017, p15.