Sustainability concerns are driving major changes in Europe’s disposable paper cup market, with plastic on the decline and eco-friendly alternatives on the rise.
As our research, consumers, especially younger demographics, actively favor businesses using eco-friendly packaging like compostable cups over plastic options. This influences purchasing. Companies want to build a reputation for sustainability. Switching to alternative fiber cups, even at greater cost, is seen as an investment.
Advancements in biodegradable barrier coatings like PLA and recyclable water-based coatings make transitioning off plastic liners more viable.
Shift Away From Plastic
There is a strong push to move away from plastic-lined cups like PE coated cups due to single-use plastic waste concerns. The EU aims to ban some single-use plastics by 2026.
The directive specifically targets plastic items like plates, cutlery, straws, ballon sticks, and polystyrene food an drink containers.
The goal is to reduce marine pollution from single-use plastics as well as shift toward a more circular economy.
EU states will be required to ban specific single-use plastic items for which alternative exist. Paper-based or compostable versions can replace some items.
In addition, EU states must reduce usage of plastic food containers and paper cup lids which are among the top litter items. A 90% collection target for recycling by 2029 was set.
The directive only bans items for which suitable and affordable alternatives are available. Exemptions can be made based on this criteria.
The ban does not automatically apply to paper cups or plastic-lined paper cups. But it does put pressure on developing more sustainable paper cup solutions.
Cup Recycling Initiatives
Programs to improve disposable paper cup recycling rates are expanding across Europe with dedicated collection bins and new facilities.
Talking about recyclable disposable paper cups, the key factory that makes paper cups non-recyclable is when the plastic lining contaminates the paper fiver. Here are the main types of coatings used for disposable paper cups that allow the cups to be recycled.
PE coated paper cups can technically be recycled, though in practice they often end up in landfills due to challenges separating the paper and plastic.
Polylactic acid(PLA) is a bioplastic made from plant starches. Cups with PLA linings can be recycled together with the paper into new produts.
Water-based coatings paper cups using sustainable water-based coatings without plastics can be readily included with paper recycling streams.
Recent News Related to PLA Paper Cups In Market
Starbucks is rolling out PLA-lined paper cups acorss Europe through 2023, starting with trials in the UK and France. This follows previous launches in Japan and Vancouver.
UK coffee chains like Costa Cofee and Pret A Manager are testing PLA lined cups with plans to transition away from polyethylene-coated cups.
Vegware opened its first European manufacturing facility in the UK to produce PLA-lined cups using renewable electricity. It aims to make one billion 100% compostable cups annually.
The nonprofit City to Sea launched its “Close the loop” scheme across UK cities to imporove collection of PLA cups and proper composting.
Belgium will require disposable cups to be compostable by 2023, providing a boost to PLA cups which can break down in industrial facilities.
New facilities like PaperFoam1s Dutch plant are increasing Europe`s capacity to produce components for biodegradable PLA-lined paper cups.
A Scotland report found PLA cups required 62% less energy and produced 25% fewer emissions compared to common plastic-lined cups.
How Consumers Have Been Reacting To PLA Paper Cups
Many consumers see PLA as more sustainable and environmentally friendly compared to plastic-lined cups. Also there is interest in PLA being made from plants like corn starch rather than fossil fuel-based plastics.
Those aware of composting see the ability to commercially compost PLA as a benefit over conventional cups.
The most common concern among end-users is if they can be properly recycled and composted, which request government and other facilities to act.
In summary, transitioning to sustainable diposable goods is an inescapable necessity, not just a trend. Companies must acct strategically and decisively to align themselves with the future. The key aim is to take a firmer, more persuasive stance that this is a must-do for businesses rather than just saying it`s a trend to consider.
For importers, wholesalers, and retailers seeking an edge in today`s competitive global marketplace, TF group offers the solutions you need to stand out and achieve success.