“This program will bring the innovation and creativity of our business community to inform our local greening movement. Efforts like this will be crucial to making our city a leader in urban sustainability. I applaud Starbucks and Global Green’s Coalition for Resource Recovery for their work, and I am delighted that Manhattan has been chosen as the home site for this pilot program. Together, we can build a greener New York City and a healthier Planet Earth,” said Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer.
Starbucks participation in the pilot is an extension of the company’s efforts to develop a comprehensive recyclable cup solution by 2012. While Starbucks paper coffee cups can be recycled and composted in some communities, most commercial and residential services are not currently able to process this form of packaging. “In addition to the cup design, it’s critical that we address the full product life cycle – including the recycling collection infrastructure,” said Jim Hanna, Starbucks director of Environmental Impact. “Any enduring solution will require collaboration with stakeholders across the value chain.”
For the pilot, Western Michigan University’s Coating and Recycling Pilot Plants tested a representative sample of the cups used in Starbucks stores and certified them as OCC-E, offering equivalent recyclability and repulpability as old corrugated cardboard using the Fibre Box Association's Wax Alternative Protocol.
Duro Bag, the largest paper bag manufacturer in the world, is designing a special paper bin liner so cups can be collected and recycled along with the corrugated cardboard. The prototype bag will be tested as part of the trial.
Action Carting, the largest commercial carter in New York City, is collecting the bags along with the corrugated cardboard.
Pratt Industries will recycle a trial run of the bags and their contents, testing them for their recyclability and repulpability compared to existing feedstock at the company’s mill on Staten Island.
Pratt’s Sustainable Design Incubator provided design guidance for the pilot which is being coordinated and monitored by Global Green USA. Results of the pilot will be available in November.
Every year, 58 billion paper cups are used in the US at restaurants, events, and homes. If all paper cups in the U.S. were recycled, 645,000 tons of waste would be diverted from landfills each year, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2.5 million mtCO 2e, equivalent to removing 450,000 passenger cars from the road.
According to Annie White, director of Global Green’s Coalition for Resource Recovery, “The lessons learned from the cup recycling pilot can be applied to the recycling of hamburger, pizza, and French fry containers, and all sorts of other paper food packaging. If the initial pilot is successful, CoRR will expand the pilot to encompass more packaging types and restaurants, furthering our objective of generating business value and closing the loop on packaging.”
According to James McDonald, director of Sustainability for International Paper, “As an active member of CoRR, International Paper supplied cups to Western Michigan University for recyclability testing and subsequent approval to the OCC-E protocol. Our participation not only supports this important pilot, it also furthers International Paper's goals of providing responsible sustainable packaging for our customers.”
The foodservice packaging recycling project is but one of several of Global Green USA’s Coalition for Resource Recovery projects dedicated to generating business value through creating a sustainable, zero waste New York City. Coalition members include: Action Carting, Chemol, DBB Enterprises, Duro Bag, International Paper, Interstate Container, Plasma Waste Recycling, Pratt Industries, Spectra-Kote, Starbucks Coffee Company, Tomra, and Western Michigan University.
The Coalition for Resource Recovery is a project of Global Green USA. Founded in 1993 by activist and philanthropist Diane Meyer Simon, Global Green is the American Arm of Green Cross International (GCI) , which was created by President Mikhail S. Gorbachev to foster a global value shift toward a sustainable and secure future by reconnecting humanity with the environment.
For more information, please contact: Annie White, Director, Coalition for Resource Recovery at firstname.lastname@example.org or 347-271-0243. Please direct requests for interviews with pilot participants to Annie White.