James Cropper becomes world’s first firm to separate plastic content from cups, leaving pulp fit for making luxury papers
The British company which makes the red paper for the Royal Legion’s famous poppies has developed the world’s first technology to recycle disposable coffee cups into high quality paper products.
Kendal-based James Cropper, a specialist paper and advanced materials group, will on Wednesday open a £5m reclaimed fibre plant using the ground-breaking new technology at its Cumbria production mill.
Until now, the 5% plastic content of cups has made them unsuitable for use in papermaking. In the UK alone, an estimated 2.5bn paper cups go to landfill every year. James Cropper’s recycling technology separates out the plastic incorporated in the cups leaving paper pulp that can be used in the highest quality papers.
The new facility is being inaugurated today by the Queen and the Princess Royal.
The plant’s process involves softening the cup waste in a warmed solution, separating the plastic coating from the fibre. The plastic is skimmed off, pulverised and recycled, leaving water and pulp. Impurities are filtered out leaving high grade pulp suitable for use in luxury papers and packaging materials.
Mark Cropper, chairman of James Cropper plc, said: “Cup waste is a rich source of high grade pulp fibre, but until now the plastic content made this product a contaminant in paper recycling. Our technology changes that and also addresses a major environmental waste problem and accompanying legislation. We are greatly honoured that Her Majesty the Queen and The Princess Royal are joining us on the occasion of our new plant opening.”
Cropper is responsible for the paper in 80% of UK hardbook books, as well as the poppy paper and paper in Hansard, the parliamentary almanac. The company’s main production facilities are in the UK and the US, with supporting sales offices in US, Europe and Asia. Half of its products are exported.
Source : guardian