Detpak cuts the rubbish

Detpak rolled out its RecycleMe service in 2018, providing a credible end to end solution for takeaway coffee cups that can be recycled up to seven times.

When family-owned Australian packaging manufacturer Detpak launched its RecycleMe system, the goal was simple: to develop a truly recyclable takeaway coffee cup that can be easily recycled using existing paper mill infrastructure, allowing cups to live again as other paper products, contributing to a circular economy.

General Manager and Marketing Innovation Manager Tom Lunn says RecycleMe was developed following feedback from the specialty coffee sector looking for sustainable packaging options for their cafés.

“We knew there was a need for a takeaway coffee cup that was truly recyclable. Consumers were wanting it and people in the coffee sector were after a sustainable solution they could implement,” Tom says.   

As a result, Tom says Detpak launched the RecycleMe coffee cups that feature a next-generation lining.

“RecycleMe coffee cups are recyclable for two reasons. First, the cup itself has a unique coating. Its lining can be removed during the normal repulping process so it’s different to a normal plastic lining,” Tom says.

“Second, we’ve created a collection system with our waste collection partner Shred-X, where they collect and shred all the paper cups and deliver them to the paper mill where they are made into paper products.”

Tom says traditionally paper cups are coated with polyethylene (PE) and other polymers to seal the cup and hold the liquid. This type of plastic coating is incompatible with traditional paper recycling facilities, meaning paper cups are diverted to landfill.

As such, the RecycleMe cup with a mineral-based lining can be fully processed by standard recycling systems. This allows paper materials to be recovered efficiently and economically, and made into other paper products.

The RecycleMe system is designed to be as easy as possible. Consumers can find RecycleMe collection stations at cafés stocking RecycleMe cups, and can easily separate the lid and place it into the station.

“Our collection partners will pick up cups and guarantee they will be recycled. It’s important only RecycleMe cups are collected, as non-recyclable cups will contaminate the recycling process,” Tom says.

“The Australian government has legislated to assist the move away from plastics and to packaging that is 100 per cent reusable, recyclable, or compostable by 2025 or earlier. Cafés using recyclable products will be making great inroads to this goal and are also making a smart choice for single use packaging, ensuring its contribution to a global move toward a circular economy.

“The internationally recognised waste hierarchy helps navigate this move as it is easy to work out where single-use packaging fits.”

Seven Seeds Coffee Roasters has implemented the RecycleMe system at its Melbourne store. General Manager Marcus Frangos says at every stage, he’s trying to lessen the café’s impact on the environment.

“We are always looking for better options. This was the best option and it gave our customers the opportunity to plan where their cup ended up,” he says. 

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