Georgia-Pacific announced today that it is now accepting mixed paper bales that contain single-use polyethylene (PE)-coated paper cups at its recycled paper mills in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and Muskogee, Oklahoma. The development follows two years of partnership with the Foodservice Packaging Institute (FPI) and collaboration with the NextGen Consortium, a global initiative led by Closed Loop Partners with founding partners Starbucks and McDonald’s, to help open opportunities for paper cup recycling. PE coatings, along with any remaining liquid and food left behind from use, have historically left single-use paper cups out of the recovery and recycling process. GP, though, has proven through its extensive re-pulping trials that the Green Bay and Muskogee mills can effectively recapture valuable cup fiber from paper cups while screening out PE-coatings and reuse the fiber to make toilet tissue, napkins and paper towels. “As single-use paper cups have grown in popularity in recent years so, too, has paper cup waste. As a leading manufacturer of paper foodservice products, we continually look for ways to consume fewer resources as part of our longer-term strategy to identify solutions that benefit society. Accepting mixed paper bales containing PE-coated cups at our Green Bay and Muskogee mills is a significant step in this direction,” said John Mulcahy, vice president of sustainability for Georgia-Pacific, which manufactures the Dixie® brand of paper cups.
“We need a paradigm shift in how society perceives the whole forest/tree value chain,” said Ben Gunneberg, CEO of PEFC International, as he opened the 22nd PEFC General Assembly, in Helsinki, Finland.
“Society is at a crossroads and the strategic direction we choose will provide the opportunity for us to demonstrate the real value of sustainable forests and their contribution to society in achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.”
“Climate change, a growing urban global population, cooperation challenges, are all issues we have to tackle, by demonstrating how forests are an important part of the solution,” Ben highlighted.
“For too long, society has perceived forestry as part of the problem rather than the solution. By working interdependently with a positive, can do attitude, sharing knowledge, working together, helping each other and acting at local, national and international level, the PEFC family of some 50 plus national forest certification systems (and still growing) can and will change society’s perception and place forests at the heart of the solutions to these challenges.”
“Interdependent. This means being mutually reliant on each other. As a global alliance of national forest certification systems, everybody is independent, but by engaging collaboratively, we can leverage the impact of the work we do, and achieve so much more.”
“I am asking you to reflect carefully as to what we can do to support the whole organization and act on those reflections. Likewise, think about what help you need from others and ask for that help. Together, interdependently we will make the difference,” Ben continued.