Frugalpac toasts first coffee cup partnership deal

Written by: Editorial staff | Published:

Cup Print in Ireland has become the first factory to take a new packaging machine to produce the Frugalpac paper coffee cup.

The factory in Ennis, Co Clare, already produces standard cups for clients including Mars, Kraft and Bunzl and makes 150 million cups per year. The new machine is expected to allow Frugalpac to meet the demand for trials and testing from interested customers, including Starbucks.

Frugalpac said it plans to eventually licence the technology to other cup manufacturers on a non-exclusive basis so that customers can remain with their existing suppliers if they so wish.

More than 2.5 billion takeaway coffee cups are said to be currently disposed of in the UK every year.

Frugalpac is a British packaging company which has created a new paper coffee cup which it claims could solve the problem whereby currently only one in 400 paper coffee cups is recycled and most end up in landfill.

Three other products based around the same technology are said to be due to be launched by Frugalpac over the next nine months.

The Frugalpac cup is made from recycled paper and is recyclable in normal paper mills. A independent test by the product testing and certification company, Intertek, found the carbon footprint of a Frugalpac cup is about half that of many of today’s normal paper takeaway cups.

Starbucks are reported to have already agreed to evaluate the Frugalpac cup, which featured in Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s War on Waste programme on BBC Television in July, with a view to trialling it,. Since then, Frugalpac said it has been "inundated with inquiries from retailers, manufacturers and intermediaries".

Existing cups are made using virgin paper from mature trees. A thin layer of plastic film is bonded to the paper while it is flat. The film provides the waterproof layer to the cup, without which the cup would leak and go soft. Waterproof chemical agents are also added to the paper. This flat sheet is then printed and formed into the cup.

Existing cups require specialist recycling facilities because the plastic film does not separate from the paper in a normal recycling centre.

At present, there are said to be only two places in the UK that can recycle conventional paper cups.

On the other hand, Frugalpac cups are made from recycled paper which is formed into a cup first without adding chemicals to the paper. A thin preformed plastic liner is lightly bonded into the paper cup. The top of the liner is then rolled over the lip of the cup which looks, feels and performs just like the conventional cup.

Because the liner is so lightly glued in place, when the cup goes to the standard paper mills it separates from the paper in the recycling process. This, according to Frugalpac means its cups can be disposed of in newspaper recycling bins. The paper used to make Frugalpac cups can be recycled up to seven times, typically for newspapers.

Martin Myerscough, Frugalpac’s founder, said: “We have received interest from around the world for the Frugalpac cup, including from Starbucks. Our new facility at Cup Print will allow us to start to meet this demand.

“Ultimately we will build even larger Frugalpac machines for cup producers by licensing the technology to them.”

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