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Stora Enso wants to start large-scale recycling of paper cups at Langerbrugge mill

Paper Recycling at Langerbrugge mill, Copyright Stora Enso
Paper Recycling at Langerbrugge mill, Copyright Stora Enso
10 May 2019 − 

The design and collection of single-use coffee cups made from board has been a very much-discussed topic. However, the real breakthrough can only happen when paper manufacturers use this kind of raw material on a large scale. This is exactly what Stora Enso has announced for its publication paper mill in Belgium.

Based on production trials, Stora Enso said it possessed the technical feasibility to recycle paper cups for use in other paper applications. It was now looking into partnerships for the collection and sorting of used paper cups.

The paper board for cups is made of high-quality, renewable fibres, the recycling of which can reduce its life cycle carbon footprint by half. Stora Enso sees this as an opportunity for driving more effective paper cup recycling by developing circular models with partners across the value chain.

“With efficient recycling processes, food service companies using wood fibre-based cups can improve their environmental footprint. Recycling must be made easy for consumers, that is why we want to invite partners and customers to jointly develop business models for collecting paper cups,” says Annica Bresky, Executive Vice President of the Stora Enso Consumer Board division.

Recycling trials at Langerbrugge mill using 500,000 paper cups

In recycling trials at Langerbrugge mill, half a million baled post-consumer paper cups collected from fast food restaurants and coffee houses were re-pulped and recycled into magazine paper. The result confirmed that paper cups can be recycled at the mill without any additional process equipment, and that the fibres are well suited for other paper applications, such as magazine paper production, says Stora Enso.

Stora Enso’s Langerbrugge Mill is one the largest paper mills in Europe, producing 540, 000 tpy of recycled newsprint and magazine papers. The production is exclusively based on recovered paper.

“We see paper cups as a valuable raw material for our process. Used paper cups provide a potential source of high-quality fibre for the production of magazine paper. Langerbrugge Mill has the technical readiness to accept billions of used cups for recycling within our sourcing area. The challenge is more about getting these cups to us on the industrial scale that our production would require,” says Rik Van Bostraeten, Sourcing Manager, Multifuel & Business Innovation, Stora Enso Langerbrugge Mill.

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