The Cup Collective, a recycling initiative launched by packaging companies Stora Enso and Huhtamaki, has received its first set of partners.

The partners include McDonald’s, SSP – The Food Travel Experts, C2 Centre and the National Railway Company of Belgium (SNCB).

Launched in September this year, the Cup Collective aims to recycle half a billion paper cups in Europe within its first two years.

All partners commit to supporting the programme’s goal to increase paper cup recycling rates in Europe.

As part of the programme, paper cup collection bins are installed in public venues across Brussels, Belgium, including restaurants and transit hubs.

Cups collected from these bins will be recycled at various facilities in the region, including Stora Enso’s site in Langerbrugge.

Managed by UK-based firm co-cre8, the programme is claimed to be the first industrial-scale paper cup recycling programme in Europe.

Co-cre8 managing director and co-founder Peter Goodwin said: “It is time to make paper cup recycling an easy, everyday activity.

“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 programme.”

The Cup Collective initiative is open to a range of stakeholders across Europe, including food service providers, retailers, transportation services, waste collectors and management services.

The programme aims to benefit consumers and businesses by making it easier to collect used paper cups, which can then be regenerated into valuable recycled raw material.

It will also expedite the EU’s target to recycle 85% of its paper and board packaging by 2030.

Last month, Huhtamaki introduced a recyclable packaging solution made from 95% renewable biobased material for the ice cream market.

The ICON packaging combines Huhtamaki’s water-based barrier coating with paperboard certified by the Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI).