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COMMUNITY | Staff Reporter, UK

Huhtamaki signs agreement with ACE UK to accelerate recycling rates

It has collaborated with 13 other fully funding signatories from across the supply chain.

Huhtamaki along with a number of other manufacturers, high street coffee shops, restaurant chains, a national distributor and raw material supplier have created a working partnership with ACE UK, the owner of one of a handful of facilities in the UK which can recycle paper cups. This new partnership will introduce a more widely accessible recycling infrastructure and solution, enabling consumers the opportunity to dispose of their cups responsibly. 

The agreement will allow consumers to take their used cups to be recycled. ACE UK owns and manages a network of 382 Bring Banks covering 97 local authorities across the UK. These are facilities where consumers can take used paper cups which will then be delivered to ACE UK’s recycling facility in Halifax for reprocessing. In the second phase of the programme, a further 33 recycling points across an additional eight local authorities are scheduled.

Consumers will have access to the Bring Bank network and will be able to take used cups to these recycling points from where they will be taken to ACE’s recycling facility in Halifax for re-processing. This will deliver a marked increase in the opportunities for cups to be recycled. Additionally, waste contractors will be able to deliver used cups direct to ACE’s facility for recycling.

This initiative has been driven by the members above all of which are also members of the Paper Cup Recovery and Recycling Group (PCRRG). Huhtamaki’s Global Category Director for Speciality Coffee, and chair of the PCRRG, Neil Whittall, has been part of the team leading discussions on driving and implementing this innovative and game-changing recycling programme.

Whittall has previously headed the Foodservice Packaging Association and has been instrumental in driving various industry initiatives on recycling and sustainability. “This collaborative industry approach, in partnership with ACE UK and funded by the signatories is the first of its kind”, said Whittall. “It represents the single most significant advance in the UK waste management infrastructure that I can recall in my 25 years in the industry. It will deliver a substantial and measurable advance in the number of cups which are reprocessed.”

He continued, “There is undoubtedly still a significant amount of work that we at Huhtamaki and the entire supply chain can do to further improve recycling rates for our products and Huhtamaki is now focused on the next steps. Working with the other operators in the supply chain, as with this initiative, ensures that our learning, knowledge and experience is shared and this in turn improves the end results for all stakeholders from the suppliers to the retailers and, crucially, for the end consumers.”

This collaborative agreement is designed to deliver a long-term solution which complements and builds on the recycling activities achieved by the industry so far. It supports the delivery of the objectives of the Paper Cup Recovery and Recycling Group and Foodservice Packaging Association’s ‘Paper Cup Manifesto’ and other pilot schemes. The agreement can be extended to more companies from the paper cup supply chain to further accelerate recycling opportunities. 

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