Borealis has launched an innovative new pilot at four of its Belgium sites to test the advantages of a double-closed reuse and recycling loop at these sites and replacing these with 30,000 lightweight, reusable EcoCore® cups.
The pilot, which is in line with Borealis’ EverMinds thinking, will see the cups first being reused, and then, on disposal, being recycled back into cups.
Many reuse initiatives today, like the reusable cup schemes run by high-street coffee shops, target consumers. Such schemes can have a relatively low uptake as the onus is on the consumer to decide whether or not to reuse a cup.
In the business environment, where reuse schemes are less prevalent and use of single-use plastic cups is widespread, there is much ground to be gained.
By using a double-closed loop, the pilot aims to make reuse schemes more sustainable and economically viable. Replacing 1.5 million single-use cups with 30,000 reusable cups, weighing 15 grammes per cup, results in a material saving of 4.2 tons of single-use plastic per year.
The foamed cups are manufactured locally by Miko Pac, using Bockatech's EcoCore®technology, and therefore engineered to require less material. The technology allows for cups that are produced in faster cycle times, lowering material costs, energy use and environmental impact, and reducing the amount of plastic from the outset.
The CO2 breakeven of these cups versus their single-use counterparts is reached at two refills per day.
Employees reuse the same cup throughout the day, eliminating on average four single-use consumptions. The cups are collected and washed by facilities company Goodless.
Each cup is tagged with a unique Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) chip for full traceability. This also enables the system to be further optimised, in terms of analysing the number of cups used, potentially to reduce the number in circulation.
Once cups are removed from the reuse loop, they transition to the material recycling loop.
The cups can then be mechanically recycled into food-approved recycled material, which can be used to create more reusable cups, thereby fully closing the loop.
Findings and learnings from the pilot will be captured, recorded and published to demonstrate how to design and set up robust reuse systems superior to single-use plastics. Borealis will support its customers and value-chain partners with the implementation of further closed-loop systems.