In the UK it is said we use 4,861 disposable paper cups a minute, which is over seven million a day and right now, less than one in 400 cups are recycled. To combat this problem, G . F Smith has launched Extract, a new paper that aims to rid the planet of the waste generated by disposable coffee cups lined with plastic.
Extract takes the disposable cup destined for landfill and transforms them into quality paper. “The paper world doesn’t need another sheet of paper unless it changes things and makes a difference,” says John Haslam, joint managing director of G . F Smith. “Originally the concept was tested using pre-consumer waste, the trimmings from the cup manufacturing process. This simply didn’t help the major problem around the world so we pushed forward with the CupCycling team and developed an amazing solution.”
CupCycling was created by James Cropper and is the world’s first recycling process dedicated to upcycling takeaway cups. “The mill has invested heavily in the reclaiming fibre machinery. That’s why G . F Smith partnered with them to develop a product that delivered something desirable that will ultimately help eradicate the horrendous issue the world has with plastic lined coffee cups,” explains John. “Every bit of plastic ever made is still on the planet so working with CupCycling was a perfect solution. James Cropper is the world’s leading specialist paper mill and G . F Smith is the world’s leading paper maker.”
Extract will be available in ten colours, all inspired by nature and the environment and there are at least five used 8oz cups in one sheet of 380gsm paper. “The colours have the ability to make us feel calm, enabling us to reflect and think – a leveller,” says John. “The finish of the sheet has a soft elegant texture with amazing bulk in both the 130 and 380gsm.”
The methods used to make the paper result in a “zero waste process”. “Bails of coffee cups go into a big machine and the plastic is removed (this becomes things like coverings of cabling). The clean paper pulp then comes out the other end, which then gets made into Extract,” explains John.
While the paper merchant is pleased with the results, Extract is a range G . F Smith eventually “hopes to discontinue”. “If we all stop using disposable cups then bingo, no reclaimed fibre,” says John. “We can then look at reclaiming paper plates, bowls and paper cartons.”
Extract is set to become a vehicle for future sustainability projects, continuing to “extract something else” when the paper cup problem is solved. “We want to do our little bit to alert the world to the awful mess we are in,” explains John. “Everyone at G . F Smith now has a keep cup made from rice husk, another reclaimed waste product.”
To accompany the launch of Extract, G . F Smith has commissioned its ongoing design partner, Made Thought, to create an installation at its Show Space in London, which launches 9 November. G . F Smith is also hosting An Evening of Rubbish Talks on 7 November. At Show Space, five creative provocateurs will talks about waste and its creative re-use, offering insight from the perspectives of different industry experts who give it value again.