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15 September 2017

Selfridges to make its iconic yellow bags from used coffee cups

The British chain of luxury department store recently announced that it is launching an initiative to produce their landmark yellow bags from used coffee cups in partnership with waste company Veolia and paper manufacturer James Cropper.

Used coffee cups are considered one of the most difficult waste products to be recycled, due to the way that they are currently produced; paper with a thin plastic coating.

However, the paper manufacturer James Cropper has developed a technology where it removes the plastic and allows the remaining paper to be reused.

The reprocessing plant is called CupCycling and is located in Cumbria.

The cups will be collected from the food hall and offices of Selfridges Oxfrod Street, through a ‘tipped, flipped and stacked’ process to ensure that that there is no remaining liquid in the cups and that lids are removed.

Veolia will be responsible to collect the cups from the department store and will deliver them to the CupCycling factory.

The final product will contain 20 percent cup fibre, meaning that each bag will contain the equivalent of one 8oz cup.

Chris Brant, Director of Retail Projects and FM at Selfridges said: “With our partners James Cropper and Veolia, we can take coffee cups, a waste product of ours, and transform them into our yellow kraft bags, thereby closing the loop on that particular waste stream”.

Mr Brant also underlined that the bags will still be able to be recycled for years to come.

He added: “We’re proud to be the first retailer to upcycle our cups in this way”.

The initiative was welcomed from the Foodservice Packaging Association (FPA), which called the initiative ‘excellent’.

Martin Kersh, Executive Director of FPA said: “The FPA congratulates James Cropper and Selfridges on this excellent initiative”.

“Recycling used cups into the superb Selfridges’ carrier bags is a testimony to the high quality board used to create cups and demonstrates the value in capturing used cups and exploiting their excellent fibres”.

She added: “We very much look forward to more retailers and other organisations following Selfridge’s example”.

Steve Adams, Managing Director of James Cropper commented on the company’s innovative technology by saying: “The fibre used to create paper cups is very high quality as only ‘virgin’ pulp is used to satisfy food contact requirements. Seeing this go to waste on such a huge scale is what inspired us to develop the technology to separate the two components”.

“What we’re left with is material that’s virtually indistinguishable from fresh fibre and can therefore be used to create paper products of the highest quality, such as Selfridges’ bags”. 

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