Revolutionizing Restaurant Recycling

The paper cup, especially the hot beverage paper cup, has become symbolic of our growing reliance on quick and easy solutions. It is perhaps the most frequent and visible foodservice item to which we are exposed. Developing and implementing a paper cup recycling system in quick service restaurants throughout New York City could change consumer behavior and stimulate demand for other recyclable foodservice products and associated recycling streams. If all paper prepared food packaging in the United States was recycled, 6 million tons of waste would be diverted from our landfills each year, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 25 million mtCO2e, equivalent to removing 4.5 million passenger vehicles from the road.[i]

While you may think it would be easy to recycle paper packaging such as paper cups or hamburger containers, developing a solution requires: designing packaging for recyclability, effective in-store communications and design, a collection and recycling infrastructure, and a market for these materials, post-use. Global Green is working with partners to develop a solution that works for all.

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[i] Tonnage includes discards from paper plates and cups, folding cartons, and bags and sacks reported in U.S. EPA 2007 MSW Facts and Figures. Greenhouse gas savings calculated using EPA's WARM tool. Savings assumes 100% of the packaging generated is recycled.