Colorado-based Alpine Waste & Recycling announced it has completed its long-awaited plans to separate thousands of coffee cups from the local trash stream.
In conjunction with the Foodservice Packaging Institute (FPI) and FPI’s Community Partnership program, Alpine recently agreed to an arrangement with Sustana, a pulp mill in De Pere, Wis., that will allow all environmentally conscious coffee shop patrons to begin tossing their empty cups into the recycling bin, assuming the coffee shop has a pickup arrangement with Alpine.
Until now, the complex material of the standard coffee cup made the cups difficult, if not impossible, to recycle in an economically feasible manner, according to the company. Alpine executives decided a year ago that they wanted to be first to break the coffee cup recycling barrier in Denver.
“We take great pride in the innovations we have brought to the industry,” said Alpine Founder John Griffith in a statement. “We are constantly on the lookout for opportunities to make these kinds of advancements.”
Alpine noted that it previously led the way in the recycling of other difficult materials, such as juice cartons, Styrofoam and rigid plastics. Alpine also added it was the first to use a robot to help with separation of recycling materials, and that robot will be instrumental in the recycling of coffee cups.
Sustana Vice President of North American Sales Jay Hunsberger said his company is ready to begin processing the coffee cups as soon as Alpine can collect its first truckload, possibly as soon as next month.
“We are pleased to offer this important service to the recycling industry, and we’re especially pleased with the partnership that provides a closed loop, zero waste solution. Our state-of-the-art equipment allows us to continue these kinds of breakthrough partnerships,” said Hunsberger in a statement.
Studies in recent years have indicated to Alpine that the recycling plant might receive as many as 5 tons of coffee cups per month at the start of the program, depending in large part upon consumer awareness and willingness to participate.