The debate - single use paper hot cups
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The debate - single use paper hot cups

12 September 2018 By Jo Gilroy - Head of Sustainability at Bunzl Catering Supplies

sustainable future for catering

Bunzl Catering Supplies are a supplier on our Catering Disposables Framework. They have used their expert knowledge to provide customers in the catering and hospitality industry with the knowledge they need to decide which paper hot cups to purchase.


In 2016, a BBC documentary called ‘War on Waste’ made public that paper cups were not being recycled despite being largely made from paperboard. Paper cups are not easily recycled due to several factors: a waterproof plastic lining, high levels of food service debris contamination, lack of specialised recycling facilities and a low market value for recycled paperboard. The foodservice packaging industry has taken steps to make paper cups widely recyclable, investing in recycling infrastructure, more on-the-go collection points and the launch of an innovative paper cup with 48% less plastic than a standard PE lined paper cup.


There are several paper hot cup options you can use:

1. Paper hot cup

paper hot cups

These are made with an innovative barrier coating called EarthCoating. They use 48% less plastic than a standard PE lined paper cup and are fully recyclable when disposed of in a dedicated paper cup waste stream. This cup is perfect for customers looking to review and reduce their plastic footprint, and the cup has an attractive off-the-shelf design.


2. PE lined paper hot cups

PE lined cups

These are now more widely recyclable and command an increased market value as recycled paperboard material, thanks to significant industry investment in the ACE UK recycling facility. They have a double wall insulation, custom print is available, and they continue to be accepted in the Simply Cups collection and recycling scheme.


3. Reusable hot cups

Reusable cup

They are generally made from glass, plastic or metal with insulation properties, and are an environmentally responsible solution when a single-use product is not required. The range is growing and will soon include a durable, fully compostable rice husk cup. Our changemakers colour series KeepCup original range is available in 10 different colours. They are also stackable and FSC compliant.


4. Compostable paper hot cups


These carry EN1 3432 certification. They must be disposed of along with food in a dedicated food wastebin and sent to an industrial composter licensed to take the material - speak to your waste provider. The cups are made from renewable resources, that will regrow, and will compost in industrial composting facilities within 12 weeks. They also have an attractive off-the-shelf design.

Overall, for customers in catering and hospitality who wish to continue with a disposable option, we recommend PE lined paper cup. For customers wishing to provide a reusable option, we recommend a reusable cup product, which can be used multiple times.


Bunzl Catering Supplies contact

Categories: Food

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