Single-use coffee cups are one of the most important sources of pollution. Australians throw out over 1 billion coffee cups per year, and these cups cannot be recycled because of the plastic lining that keeps them waterproof.

But this will soon change, as an Australian business developed a technology that recycles single-use paper cups into paper.

Planet Ark explains on its website why it is problematic to recycle single use paper cups: “How the cardboard and plastic behave in the recycling process – particularly during pulping – is the source of all the controversy. If the cardboard fibres remain attached to the plastic they can’t be turned back into paper products and therefore become a waste product.”

Detpak, the food packaging manufacturer, which is part of Detmold Group, developed a technology that removes the plastic lining from the cup, leaving behind the paper which can be easily be recycled.

“Our RecycleMe™ System is a total end-to-end solution, turning takeaway cups into recycled paper products and contributing to positive global environmental change,” explained the marketing and innovation manager of Detpak, Ton Lunn.

It wasn’t easy to find this solution. It took three years of testing and trailing cups’ coatings in order to create this design, Mr Lunn told My Business.

“We came across the Smart Planet Earth Coating in our research and made contact with this technology company out of the US. This partnership has grown to the point where we are working together globally to bring recyclable takeaway cups to the industry,” he said.

The cups using this type of coating was introduced in Australian facilities with ease. The marketing phase took only two years to make the product known to business.

“The trialling of this technology, establishing of collection and recycling partnerships and now the commercialisation phase have taken almost two years,” Lunn said.

In order to receive the used coffee post nationwide, Detpak signed a partnership with Shred-Xm which has 50,000 collection points all over the country. They also agreed to collect and recycle the lids.

Tim Adams Specialty Coffee in Queensland, Seven Seeds Coffee in Victoria and Veneziano Coffee Roasters in NSW are some of the coffee chains that are supporting this initiative. Also, Hungry Jacks, the fast food chain, will be introducing these cups in 20 of its stores in Victoria and NSW.

The launch of the new cups will be during Planet Ark’s National Recycling Week, which is celebrated from 12th to 18th November.

The Detmold Group was created in 1948 and it developed from a family business to almost 3000 employees in 17 countries and manufacturing points in seven countries. Its best known brands are Detmold Packaging, Paperpak and Custom Cartons.