Finnish renewable materials company Stora Enso and Scandinavian packaging board manufacturer Fiskeby Board have announced the successful completion of their paper cup recycling trial.

The trial was conducted to find out if used paper cups could be recycled into white-lined chipboard (WLC). The companies said that the trial confirmed that paper cups can be used as valuable raw material to produce WLC board without any investments or changes to the process conditions at Fiskeby Board Mill.

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The experiment with Fiskeby Board was one in a series of paper cup trials conducted by Stora Enso. Previous trials included an exploration into whether paper cups are valuable raw material for magazine paper, which was conducted at Langerbrugge paper mill in Belgium.

Stora Enso SVP head of liquid packaging and carton board Hannu Kasurinen said: “By exploring the recycling of paper cups, we are promoting circularity while supporting our customers in foodservice industry in their efforts to become more climate-friendly. We are open to collaboration with other recycling partners to build an ecosystem of circularity for foodservice companies.

“Paper cups have a low carbon footprint, which is still cut by half if cups are recycled and carbon remains stored in the fibres during their next life. The high-quality fibres become used for other renewable products in a circular economy.”

Stora Enso’s cup innovation helps accelerate recycling trials

Stora Enso recently launched a new material for paper cups, Cupforma Natura Solo. The material’s dispersion barrier provides makes the cup leak-proof, removing the use of traditional polyethylene coatings, and breaks down during recycling, ensuring that all fibres can be fully recovered.

Fiskeby Board CEO Arvid Sundblad said: “Recycling saves our planet’s resources and energy in board production. Since paper cups are made from virgin fibre, they provide strong, high-quality raw material for the production of recycled board. The trials showed that we can recycle all kinds of paper cups at Fiskeby. The results also indicated that cups made of Cupforma Natura Solo would be the most energy- and resource-efficient to recycle, providing the highest fibre yield, comparable to non-polymer coated board materials.”

Stora Enso head of business new barrier solutions, consumer board Ebba Mannheimer said: “Stora Enso is actively developing new innovative solutions and business models to support coffee houses and fast food chains in responding to consumer needs for sustainable choices. The recycling trials at Fiskeby confirm yet another use for the valuable fibres in paper cups, while strengthening our expertise in material recycling. We are proud of our innovations that drive value in the circular bioeconomy.”