The world’s first mass-produced recycled paper bottles will be made here in Suffolk
- Credit: Archant
Machines that make a new kind of paper bottle which could revolutionise the packaging industry and help to purge the environment of plastic rubbish are being built in Suffolk.
The Ipswich company Frugalpac is engineering the machines, which will produce an entirely new type of bottle that could drastically cut down on the plastic waste that’s polluting our seas.
According to a report by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Eunomia Research & Consulting, the UK is set to throw away a third more single-use coffee cups than at present by 2030.
The Frugalpac paper bottle has a liner inside, which means that when it’s been emptied, the top is broken and a bag inside is pulled out which can be put in the plastic recycling, while the bottle itself goes into the paper recycling.
“It’s a similar principle to the ‘bag in the box’ wines you get,” explained Frugalpac’s chief executive, Malcolm Waugh.
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“We are also now building machines to produce the world’s first mass produced fully recyclable paper cartons in Ipswich.
“We have doubled the size of the company from eight to 16 people to design and built these products, which we expect to be on the market before the end of the year.”
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This week, Frugalpac is launching the world’s first fully recyclable coffee cup, made from recycled paper - but the cups are being manufactured not in Suffolk, but in North Wales.
“I am standing here watching them coming out of the machine - it’s very exciting!” said Mr Waugh from the factory in Wrexham, which has 21 new production machines from Frugalpac following a seven-figure investment. “This truly is the beginning of the recycled coffee cup revolution.”
Frugalpac is collaborating with an existing cup manufacturer, The Cup Folk, which is producing the cups on its behalf. “That’s the reason why we’re in Wrexham, not Suffolk, because they’re based here - there aren’t any facilities with the capabilities of producing Frugal Cup currently in the Suffolk area,” explained Mr Waugh.
He claims that what makes the new Frugal Cups unique is that whereas a traditional coffee cup is made using paper from virgin trees and is cemented with a plastic film which bonds tightly to the paper, then finished with a chemical treatment, the Frugal Cup uses recycled paper with a food grade liner inside it to ensure that the paper does not come into contact with the liquid. “The cup then breaks down and turns into pulp in just eight minutes in the recycling process,” he said.
“We are producing 50m a year right now, and aiming to get 10% of the market share which is 400m cups a year - I would be disappointed if we were not to do that.
“With ever increasing consumer demand for brands and retailers to do more to support an environmentally-sustainable economy, our aim is to be the number one replacement for all the coffee cups in the market today which are difficult to recycle.
“Over time, we hope to get into big name chains, but our focal point at the moment is the independent cafes which tend to be more progressive in terms of their environmental position. We continue to have conversations with the big high street names.”
The three Frugalpac products have been a long time in the development stage, as Frugalpac was founded back in 2016.
Mr Waugh admits that the company “failed to industrialise” its model until now.
Frugalpac’s founder, Martin Myerscough, has since left the company, “but his legacy lives on,” says Mr Waugh.
The company’s headquarters recently moved from Brightwell to Wharfedale Road Ipswich.