Coffee Shop Innovation Expo logo

26 & 27 NOV 2019


Coffee Cup Recycling – Biopac’s Solution

For years, British consumers have been expressing concern about the environment and the impact they have on it as consumers. So when the Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall programme ‘Hugh’s War on Waste’ brought to light an issue that’s been clear in the industry for quite some time, it came as a shock to many of the viewing public: standard take-away coffee cups can’t be recycled. 

This is because most paper cups are coated with a plastic material on the inside, and unless this material is first separated from the cardboard on the outside, it cannot be recycled. It’s confused and frustrated consumers who have been putting their cups in the recycling bin, only to find out they go to landfill. To give you some idea of the scale, more than 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups are thrown away in the UK each year: less than 1% get recycled.

Clearly, consumers are now more aware than ever about the amount of waste going into landfill – not just their coffee cups, but disposable food containers and packaging as well. And for businesses, consumer concerns represent a challenge – as well as an opportunity – to make significant improvements in their sustainability practices. 

That’s where Biopac comes in. Founded in 2002, in response to consumer interest on this topic, Biopac was the first UK company to bring compostable disposables to the market. Fourteen years on, Biopac is at the forefront of biodegradable materials and now stock more than 1,000 products, supplying a wide range of UK distributors, chains and small independent businesses, such as market traders, takeaways and coffee shops. 

Biopac provides a solution to this issue: compostable cups. The familiar “I’m a Green Cup” logo is now seen on cups in the same sizes and specs as conventional cups (8, 12, and 16 ounces), in both single and double wall options. However, Biopac cups are made with a plant starch lining, not a petrochemical (plastic) one. The plant starch lining means that Biopac’s cups can be composted within 3 months, unlike the plastic-coated ones, which will end up in landfill. What’s more, Biopac produce a compostable alternative to the plastic lid, which is also made from a plant starch material. We’re proud to say that our compostable cups are the way forward, and they’re what make us the market leader in eco-friendly food and drink packaging. 

In fact, the majority of Biopac’s products are made from natural materials so they can compost very easily. Biopac can supply a compostable alternative for almost any product: their innovative technique makes it quite easy to switch from petrochemicals and plastics to plant starch-based products. While plant starch-based products have a slightly lower heat tolerance, it’s not stopped Biopac from developing innovative hot food containers and cups, in addition to salad containers, sandwich packs, cake boxes and so much more. 

One of their key products found at festivals and stadium events all over the UK is the “I Am Not a Plastic Cup” tumbler. The compostable cups carry a great message on them, to tell consumers they’re drinking from an eco-friendly plant starch-based cup, not a plastic one.

Biopac is not your average packaging company. The company works closely with its clients to help them find the best products for their business. Or, to switch out some of their existing products for compostable alternatives. It’s an important step that really resonates with end-customers: consumers have expressed time and time again that they want to support businesses that will take responsibility for their environmental actions and sustainability. 

Biopac’s mission is to establish high-performance alternatives to unsustainable products by researching and developing new materials, finding renewable feedstock and using novel technologies. To find out more about Biopac's compostable coffee cups, watch their video or visit their website

You can also follow Biopac on Twitter to keep up-to-date on their latest news and product innovations. 

Have a look at Biopac's video on YouTube to know more here