CupCycling: Take-away coffee cups find new life as sketch pads, greetings cards and packaging

Specialist papermaker James Cropper is turning coffee cups into papers and packaging, as part of the world’s first recycling process dedicated to upcycling take-away cups.

The initiative, known as CupCycling, saves take-away coffee cups from landfill and incineration, and turns them into environmentally-friendly papers.

Around 2.5 billion cups are thrown away each year in the UK. The polyethylene coating of coffee cups means that they are only recyclable through specialist facilities.

James Cropper’s CupCycling facility in the UK removes the plastic lining during the process meaning that 95% of the cup waste can be converted back in to paper and the remaining 5% of plastic is used for energy recovery in the production of recycled paper.

Coffee outlets, cafés or retailers as well as other businesses can send used paper cups to James Cropper for Cupcycling through the papermaker’s recycling and waste management partners. The cups are collected and baled close to source, so that they can be delivered to James Cropper efficiently on a large scale.

James Cropper’s recycling plant has so far recycled around 100 million cups, and has the capacity to recycle 500 million paper cups each year.

The environmentally-friendly papers have been used in greetings cards, sketch pads, notepads, bags, and boxes for retailers including Paperchase, Hallmark, Selfridges and Lush.


Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyles including sustainable and green living. She also offers content services to businesses and individuals at





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