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Written by Emily Laughton-Hulatt | 23rd November 2023
Sustainable cardboard cup holder bin solution for trailblazers, Valpak
Think about how many cardboard beverage cups you see on your daily commute or school run. The allure of a convenient takeaway hot drink sees hundreds of thousands of people enjoying their daily caffeine “fix”. The associated waste from these discarded cups is huge.
What if we could make recycling them straightforward so that the planet doesn’t suffer for our latte-loving ways?
Tackling paper cup waste with tailor-made cardboard bins for recycling
The team at Valpak were looking for a sustainable packaging solution that eliminated the need for packing by a third party. They required a custom designed box that enabled cups to be stacked inside for recycling.
The brief included two different sizes, and Valpak also needed dividers to create cells for a specific number of cups inside the box.
Our talented team of packaging pros at Smurfit Kappa Leeds provided a unique solution that delivered exactly what Valpak required in the easiest, most affordable, and sustainable way possible.
Tackling recycling together
Valpak’s brief centred around creating sustainable packaging in line with their planet-friendly ethos. In 2018, Valpak partnered with Costa Coffee to develop a new national initiative, The National Cup Recycling Scheme, which aims to significantly increase the collection and recycling of paper cups across the UK.
The scheme sees major retailers working together to create a streamlined system for collecting and recycling hot and cold paper cups – covering a multitude of beverages from coffee to milkshakes.
In the UK, there are now enough recycling facilities accepting PE-lined paper cups to recycle every paper cup on the market (over 2.5 billion cups). The problem is managing how we collect the paper cups when, as an on-the-go item, they end up in a whole host of places such as train stations, universities, offices, and domestic bins.
This pioneering scheme aims to make the collection of cups commercially attractive for waste collectors to include as part of their recycling offering to customers.
The National Cup Recycling Scheme collaborates with businesses across diverse sectors, tailoring cup recycling solutions that encompass internal education, strategic bin placement, consumer behaviour change, and engagement with waste collectors.
A cup half full when it comes to a fit-for-purpose cardboard cup holder bin
The National Cup Recycling Scheme wanted to create the Cup Box as a recycling solution for small to medium-sized businesses across the UK.
While their main purpose was to facilitate the recycling of these cups, Valpak also wanted to use the opportunity to ensure the new packaging aligned with the National Cup Recycling Scheme’s branding to help raise customer awareness.
Valpak came to the team at Smurfit Kappa Leeds with this unique cardboard disposal bin conundrum. With their logistics company also keen to post the product straight out, this meant that a secondary product to house the cup recycling box components for transportation would need to make up part of the design.
So, Smurfit Kappa Leeds put their cardboard freestanding cup recycling box hats on and constructed an innovative custom packaging solution.
All revved up for a fully recyclable result
To address all the customers’ requirements, we designed a freestanding cup recycling box, with dividers to create 9 internal compartments to stack the cups inside.
We also designed a lid with holes that lined up with each compartment and a separate layer pad, so that when the box is filled the layer pad can be clicked underneath the lid to seal the holes ready to be sent for recycling.
Our designer also created a folder that all components would fit inside so that when the logistics company received an order, they could simply label up the package and send it straight out, eliminating any packing work to be carried out by a third party.
This box will also be recyclable via the paper and cardboard waste stream by the waste collector upon delivery of the full box.
Another important component that our Leeds team built into this highly effective and convenient cardboard bins for recycling design is a QR code that links back to the National Cup Recycling Scheme to make it simple for customers to arrange collection of the box.
Raise your cups to toast Smurfit Kappa’s ingenious packaging solution
“We’re delighted with the creative and clever design for the ‘Cup Box’ from Smurfit Kappa! The National Cup Recycling Scheme is very excited about seeing it in situ within businesses being used to recycle cups. Our team and the packaging design team at Smurfit Kappa worked closely on the design of these cardboard disposal bins to ensure they were easy to unpackage and set up, whilst being sturdy enough to hold the maximum capacity of cups to be couriered. There has been a lot of interest in the box, especially in office environments!” comments Sam Kinnear from Valpak.
With this easy-to-use, highly efficient, time-saving, and cost-effective sustainable packaging solution there is simply no excuse for neglecting to recycle your cardboard cups anymore!
At Smurfit Kappa, we’re as invested in our customers’ success as we are committed to finding innovative new cardboard packaging solutions that champion sustainability.
If you need help with packaging that ticks ALL the boxes, get in touch today.
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