Roughly 600,000 tons of paper beverage cups are used each year in the United States, and far too much of this material ends up in landfills. Now, South Dakota-based materials recovery facility Millennium Recycling, Inc. has added paper cups to its recycling list, thanks to a partnership with the Foodservice Packaging Institute (FPI).
“We are committed to giving our customers in Sioux Falls, Yankton, Huron, southwest Minnesota and beyond the opportunity to provide a new life for recycled cups—not just send them to the landfill,” said Shannon Dwire, president of Millennium Recycling, in a statement.
Paper cups were once thought to be non-recyclable due to their plastic lining, which is added to insulate and prevent leaks. However, a growing number of mills recognize that these cups are a source of high-quality fiber and are recycling them into new products like tissue, boxes and pulp to make new cups.
Each year, Millennium Recycling processes about 50,000 tons of recyclables, such as plastic bottles, metal cans, glass jars, paper and cardboard. Cups and other paper items will be sent to mills including WestRock in St. Paul, Minn., where they will be turned into 100 percent recycled paperboard for packaging such as cereal and tissue boxes. WestRock is one of more than a dozen mills in the U.S. and Canada that have committed to recycling paper cups.
“At FPI, our work is ongoing with communities, recycling facilities and end markets to expand the opportunities to collect, process and recycle foodservice packaging,” said Lynn Dyer, FPI president, in a statement. “Domestic markets for recovered materials are critical for successful recycling, and we congratulate Millennium Recycling and WestRock for playing a large role in getting more paper cups and paper takeout containers recycled.”
Millennium asks residents to remove and place all lids, straws and stirrers in the trash and to only recycle clean and empty paper cups. Cup sleeves may be left on the cup. Paper takeout containers may also be recycled if clean and empty.