Posts Tagged ‘Biodegradable’

Save your Cups

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009

The Paper cup market has become saturated with biodegradable paper cups which sadly some people now feel they can toss away in the knowledge that they will eventually disappear. This is a common misconception as these cups need to be put separately in compost for a number of years until they do eventually decompose.

Better still than leaving your paper cups to sit in compost for years and losing the paper is to recycle them into another paper product (commonly toilet paper)

 99% of paper cups in the world are not biodegradable but are recyclable as the below article explains…

The Paper Cup Recovery and Recycling Group report a successful paper cup recycling trial in which virtually all the fibre from standard Polyethylene (PE) coated paper cups was successfully extracted and converted into high quality tissue fibre for use in products such as facial and toilet tissues.

On average standard paper cups, intended for hot drinks, are made up of approximately 95% high quality paper fibre and 5% PE coating. During the trials, at an undisclosed paper mill in the North of England, Nearly all the paper fibre was successfully extracted making it possible to claim that the “industry standard paper cup” is 95% recyclable and that the recycling can take place in the UK.

The paper mill involved in the trial, pleased with the quality of fibre obtained, has asked the Paper Cup Recovery & Recycling Group to consider on-going paper cup recycling arrangement, provided continuity of supply can be maintained, at a level of, at least, 10 tonnes per month.

The mill and the group are also working to find an outlet for the separated PE coating. The trial involved processing over 10 tonnes of used Post Consumer Paper cups, collected at trial locations in the UK and the group’s next objective is to speed up “used cup collection” in order to maintain the newly established option and open up further UK recycling routes for paper cups.

Over the past two years the group has been working with several UK paper mills and the Fibre Technology Association to explore local recycling opportunities for paper cups. The group has also worked to define how best to prepare used paper cups for recycling and this work is ongoing.

“This is a fantastic step forward for the group, but the next challenge is collecting enough used material, a minimum of 120t through 2009, to maintain continuity of supply to mills. If anyone is already segregating paper cups on site and wants to help the activity of the group please can they get in touch with us” urges Susan Nash one of the founder members of the group.

In addition the group is also working with Save a Cup and now all paper cups collected by Save-A-Cup will be passed to the group for recycling. Save -A-Cup can be contacted at:

Save a Cup Recycling Company Ltd
Suite 2, Bridge House
Bridge Street
HIGH WYCOMBE
HP11 2EL

E-mail: info@save-a-cup.co.uk
Tel: 01494 510167
Fax: 01494 510168
Anyone wishing to find out more about the Paper Cup Recovery and Recycling Group please contact Barry Read of The Fibre Technology Association at:

The Fibre Technology Association
PO Box 420
Durham
DH1 9WY

E-mail: info@papercuprecycling.co.uk
Tel: 07836 796000
Fax: 0870 137 0369

Press Contact Susan Nash 01242 284325

The new PLA – Oxo-biodegradable Plastics

Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

Polylactic acid or Polylactide (PLA) is a biodegradable, thermoplastic, aliphatic polyester derived from renewable resources, such as corn starch (in the U.S.) or sugarcanes (rest of world). Although PLA has been known for more than a century, it has only been of commercial interest in recent years, in light of its biodegradability.

In recent years PLA has been used to line the inside of Paper Cups in place of the oil based lining more commonly used and to create Plastic Cups, Cutlery, Carrier Bags, Food Packaging and even Nappies.

This product however is produced by turning land over once used for growing food crops and like bio-fuels contributes to increased food prices. PLA is also more expensive than many petroleum-derived commodity plastics and can create problems in recycling streams by contaminating the oil based plastics (making more waste!)

Now ordinary oil based plastic and recycled plastic can now be made biodegradable.

Oxo-biodegradable Plastics (OBP’s) are conventional plastics such as polyethylene, polypropylene and polystyrene to which is added a proprietary mixture (d2w additive) that accelerates the breakdown of the chemical structure of the plastic.

OBP’s degrade, then biodegrade, on land or at sea, in the light or the dark, in heat or cold, in whatever timescale is required, leaving NO fragments NO methane and NO harmful residues.

These plastics are the main ones used in a variety of catering disposable packaging applications. The resultant breakdown products are then amenable to conversion by micro-organisms, for which these products are an energy source or food, into carbon dioxide and water; thereby returning otherwise intractable plastics to the ecosystem.

These plastics can now have a shelf life, determined at the point of manufacture. Shopping carrier bags, food wraps, plastic glasses et al that will completely and harmlessly biodegrade. Utilising this new technology does not mean the products cannot be recycled.

Some commercial products that have already incorporated this new technology include carrier bags, garbage bags, Ziplock bags, cling film, shrink-wraps and EPS trays.

Expect to see use by dates on your plastic cups in the future!

More on OBP’s can be found here.

Paper Drinking Straws

Thursday, October 2nd, 2008

We are currently seeing increased interest in our Paper Drinking Straws. Apparently there are not many suppliers of these ‘retro’ products as one of our customers put it. The interest seems to stem from people wishing to avoid plastic straws and opt for a biodegradable option.

Our customer commented that there is little point using biodegradable paper cups with normal plastic straws.

Should you wish to purchase only straws (£4/500) please contact us for Royal Mail postal rates.

We currently use Business Post express couriers for all of our parcel deliveries and receive good feedback regarding their service.

We do understand however that it makes little economic sense to pay more for the carriage than the goods. This is a problem all who distribute inexpensive goods face. Disposable products are inherently cheap and our delivery costs are typically £7.50 & vat up to 20 kilos in weight for most of England and Wales, with costs rising in Scotland and Ireland. This enables us to distribute a number of boxes (up to 20) which otherwise would have had separate Royal Mail postal charges.

White Paper Drinking Straws

White Paper Drinking Straws