WESTROCK COMPANY

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WestRock : Paper mills commit to increase recycling of paper cups

12/22/2021 EDT

A group of paper mills and end markets have signed a declaration of acceptance stating they will commit to increasing recycling of paper cups, denouncing previous notions that the polymer coating found on the cups makes them unsuitable for recycling.

Organizations that signed the statement include: Essity, Stockholm, Sweden; GP Pro, Atlanta; Graphic Packaging International, Atlanta; Great Lakes Tissue Co., Cheboygan, Michigan; ND Paper, Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois; Pratt Industries, Conyers, Georgia; Sustana Fiber, De Pere, Wisconsin; and WestRock, Atlanta. The group represents approximately 75 percent of mixed paper demand in the U.S. and Canada, according to a news release from the Foodservice Packaging Institute (FPI).

"Empty paper cups are recyclable and they provide high-quality fiber which can then be recycled into new products like cereal cartons, facial tissue boxes and new paper cups," says Graphic Packaging President and CEO Michael Doss. "Graphic packaging strongly supports recycling of paper cups and is encouraged by the proactive participation of the industry to collect them and increase the circularity of paper cups."

Typically, paper cups contain bleached white virgin fiber with a thin polymer coating, often made from polyethylene (PE) or polylactic acid (PLA). Cups for hot liquid have one layer on the inside of the cup, while cups for cold liquid have two layers which provide insulation and prevent leaks, but not all mills are equipped to separate the plastic coating, which has prevented increased paper-cup recycling.

"However, the facilities that signed this declaration are shining a spotlight not only on their ability, but their commitment to accept paper cups," according to Natha Dempsey, president of the FPI. "We encourage communities and MRFs to connect directly with their end markets and local mills to check if they will accept bales containing paper cups."

The FPI addresses other concerns, including contamination and an over abundance of cups in mills. According to the organization, cups and other food service packaging items are "no more contaminated than commonly recycled food-contact items like bottles, jars or cans" based on studies conducted in Boston and Delaware.

And while paper cups are a big part of many people's day-to-day, the FPI says they actually make up a small part of the recovered paper stream, with industry estimates stating roughly 600,000 tons of paper cups are produced annually in the U.S.-less than 1 percent of all paper and paperboard produced in the U.S. in 2018.

Many of the representatives who signed the statement are members of the FPI, which facilitated most of the testing, and the group says to date it has helped 15 recycling programs successfully add paper cups.

"Increasing the viability and acceptance of paper cup recycling is an important step toward building a circular economy in our markets," says Fabian de Armas, CEO of Sustana.

Disclaimer

WestRock Company published this content on 22 December 2021 and is solely responsible for the information contained therein. Distributed by Public, unedited and unaltered, on 05 January 2022 18:07:01 UTC.


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Sales 2022 21 402 M - -
Net income 2022 1 072 M - -
Net Debt 2022 7 278 M - -
P/E ratio 2022 10,6x
Yield 2022 2,25%
Capitalization 11 254 M 11 254 M -
EV / Sales 2022 0,87x
EV / Sales 2023 0,79x
Nbr of Employees 49 900
Free-Float 98,7%
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David B. Sewell President, Chief Executive Officer & Director
Alexander W. Pease Chief Financial Officer & Executive Vice President
Alan D. Wilson Non-Executive Chairman
Amir Kazmi Chief Information Officer
Colleen F. Arnold Independent Director
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