The cups have new coating technology, made from plant based oils and recycled PET bottles, which means the cup requires no modification or special handling before being composted or recycled, potentially cutting landfill waste and reducing costs. They are, however, not suitable for hot drinks.

AkzoNobel executive committee member Conrad Keijzer said: “This is an industry-changing innovation which could have a significant impact in terms of providing economic and environmental benefits along the value chain. The new coatings technology will help restaurant owners and cup producers to reduce their waste.”

The company’s new coating for paper cups means that the paper fibre remains intact and can be easily reused in the production of other paper products. The cups also allow paper mills to capture 100% of the paper waste from the production process, which is often currently sent to landfill.

“The cost of paper represents the highest single cost for cup makers, so recycling the industrial scrap means that there are both cost and environmental benefits,” said Gil Sherman, market development manager at AkzoNobel’s paper coating business.

The company believes the new EvCote paper coating can help improve paper cup recycling globally. More than 200 billion paper cups used around the world every year, many of which are not effectively recycled without diminishing the quality of the paper.

“There has already been strong interest in our product and we expect it to prompt a major transformation in paper cup production, much like the move from wax to the current Polyethylene process around 40 years ago,” said Industrial Coatings managing director AB Ghosh.

The fully recyclable cup for cold drinks comes after British inventor Martin Myerscough announced a new recyclable paper cup for hot drinks in June, with a thin plastic film which could be removed from the paper before recycling.

Last week, AkzoNobel announced that it was expanding its use of renewable algal oils for its paints and coatings, rather than using traditional petroleum based products.

The firm has previously been shortlisted for the Sustainability Leaders Awards: for water management in 2012 and waste and resource management in 2013.

Matt Field

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