Huhtamaki’s long-term partner, James Cropper has launched the world's first recycling process dedicated to upcycling used paper cups

Huhtamaki’s long-term  partner, James Cropper has launched the world's first recycling process dedicated to upcycling used paper cups. CupCycling™ by James Cropper now enables them to reprocess used paper cups in addition to the off-cuts from Huhtamaki's manufacturing process for cups.


James Cropper, British master papermaker, has been creating premium quality paper for almost two centuries. The paper products manufactured at Burnside Mills in the Lake District serve many different uses and markets including business and education, bindings and coverings, arts and craft, archival and framing and luxury packaging. Paper products can be tailor-made to meet a customer’s specific needs and James Cropper takes great pride in the business’ ability to work in partnership with its customers and to demonstrate innovation at every stage of the process.


Huhtamaki, global specialist in packaging for food and drink, and James Cropper have been working together since 2013. Huhtamaki uses high quality paperboard from sustainably managed sources, certified by the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC - the world’s leading forest certification system) in the manufacture of paper coffee cups.  The quality of this paperboard and the structure of the fibres within it, mean that it is prime material for recycling because it can be turned into other, new paper products. James Cropper has long recognized and understood this fact.


As an output of the manufacture of paper cups by Huhtamaki skeletal off-cuts are produced as a result of the ‘blanking’ process - the process by which the large reels of paperboard are cut into cup shapes for forming.  These off-cuts are made of exactly the same materials as the formed cups themselves: paperboard which is coated on one side with Polyethylene (PE), the plastic material used to ensure that the formed cups can safely contain liquids. Rather than simply disposing of these off-cuts, which might otherwise be considered a ‘waste’ product of the manufacturing process, Huhtamaki sends them to James Cropper for reprocessing.


Once at James Cropper, the paper cup off-cuts undergo a process which removes the PE layer from the paperboard, preserving the precious paper fibres to make new paper products.


At a point in time where the recyclability of coffee cups is under close scrutiny in the UK, it is both revealing and refreshing to note that James Cropper has been reprocessing and recycling the paper-board which is used to manufacture disposable coffee cups for a number of years. Furthermore, James Cropper has clearly identified value in the process and sound economic reasons for doing so.


It should come as small surprise therefore, that having proved the recycling technology and the advantages it can deliver, earlier this year James Cropper launched a new business initiative. CupCycling™ by James Cropper is the world’s first recycling process dedicated to upcycling used take-away cups.


These used paper cups come from high street retailers, coffee shop chains and fast food outlets, many of which are customers of Huhtamaki. The cups are collected and baled close to source and then they undergo precisely the same method of re-processing as the off-cuts that Huhtamaki has been sending to James Cropper since 2013. The process produces new, environmentally friendly papers for James Cropper’s customers which in turn can be recycled again at end of life. The PE or plastic layer is also recycled by James Cropper’s reprocessing partner.


For more information on CupCycling™ by James Cropper, please visit


For more information about Huhtamaki please contact Becci Eplett, UK Marketing Manager at