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The Cup Collective, an industrial-scale paper cup recycling program, has welcomed its first partners.

Posted by Marissa McNees. International Recycling News Paper

The Cup Collective, a program founded by paper and board producer Stora Enso and packaging company Huhtamaki, both based in Finland, has welcomed its first partners to the initiative.

McDonald’s, SSP Group, C2 Centre and the National Railway Company of Belguim (SNCB) have announced they have joined the program, which aims to recycle paper cups on an industrial scale in Europe, maximizing the cups’ value and regenerating them into recycled raw materials.

The program launched in September in partnership with Co-Cre8, a United Kingdom-based company that designs and implements recycling programs in Europe. The goal of the Cup Collective is to recycle half a billion paper cups in Europe within its first two years.

“The Cup Collective initiative will create the necessary collection infrastructure to significantly increase the recycling rate of wood-fiber in paper cups,” the companies said at the time of the launch.

The first paper cup collection bins now are available in public venues, like restaurants and transit hubs, throughout Brussels, and collected material is recycled in facilities in the region, including Stora Enso’s site in Langerbrugge, Belgium.

The new partners and other stakeholders gathered in Brussels on Wednesday for a panel discussion on the program’s implementation.

“It’s time to make paper cup recycling an easy, everyday activity,” Co-Cre8 co-founder and Managing Director Peter Goodwin said during the panel. “We are now able to provide a platform to collect and capture the value of paper cups at an industrial scale and are calling businesses to get on board and become part of the Cup Collective program.”