Sustainability alert: WestRock receives SPC Innovator Award
Starbucks and Hubbub's new Cup Fund will support more paper cup recycling drop-off locations across U.K.

Sustainability alert: WestRock receives SPC Innovator Award

Plus Hellmann's commits to recycled plastics and other sustainability-related news.


The Sustainable Packaging Coalition (SPC), Charlottesville, Virginia, honored WestRock Co., Atlanta, with its Innovator Award for the company’s work in improving the recyclability of food service packaging.

Each year, the SPC, a member-based organization that believes in the power of industry to make packaging more sustainable, recognizes advancements toward more sustainable packaging through its SPC Innovator Awards.

WestRock’s efforts to increase the recyclability of food service packaging include proving that there would be no disruption to the company’s operations with the addition of poly-coated food service packaging, the company says. The company currently accepts food service packaging at its 100 percent recycled paperboard mills in the United States.

WestRock has also developed a recyclable and compostable paperboard cup prototype designed to hold hot and cold beverages under a variety of conditions. The prototype was recently named one of 12 winners of the NextGen Cup Challenge.

“A large portion of paper-based food service packages are discarded in the U.S. each year, as historically, this packaging has not been widely accepted in recycling programs,” states Patrick Lindner, president of WestRock’s consumer packaging business. “WestRock’s acceptance of food service packaging at its mills, as well as our research and development work on new, more recyclable and compostable packaging designs exemplifies our commitment to finding ways to make packaging more sustainable.”

Starbucks, Hubbub launch Cup Fund

Starbucks, Seattle, Washington, and U.K.-based environmental charity Hubbub have announced the launch of the Cup Fund, a new grant fund that aims to improve paper cup recycling across the U.K. Financed by Starbuck’s 5-pence charge on disposable coffee cups, which has doubled the number of people using reusable cups, the fund will support at least 10 recycling projects across the U.K. with grants between $50,000 to $100,000 euro.

The capacity and ability to recycle all paper cups used in the U.K. exists, the firm says, but cups need to be collected separately. The fund will help develop “long-term infrastructure" and more recycling collection points to collect the cups, as well as education to help the public recycle effectively, the firm says.

Recycling companies and a range of organizations "lacking funds" to increase infrastructure can apply for grants through May 24. Winners will be announced in July.

“The launch of the Cup Fund with Starbucks means we will be able to collect cups in significant volumes in areas where there may not have been any drop-off points before,” Hubbub Founder and CEO Trewin Restorick states in a release. “We’re looking for ambitious, large-scale projects that will transform cup recycling in high footfall areas.”

Starbuck’s donates the 5-pence charge to Hubbub for campaigns. The first campaign was a plastic fishing competition to raise awareness about plastic pollution. The Cup Fund is the second major announcement, which will make it easier for people to recycle paper cups by increasing drop-off locations. The next campaign will encourage more people to drink from reusable cups, the firm says. Hubbub is working with creative agencies to explore approaches and will test them in five areas later this year.

Hellmann's commits to recycled plastic packaging

Hellmann's, a Unilever brand, has announced that all of its mayonnaise and mayonnaise dressing plastic containers sold in U.S. will be made from recycled plastic materials by 2020. The commitment supports the company’s goal to use 100 percent reusable, recyclable or compostable plastic packaging by 2025.

Hellmann's has started offering recycled mayonnaise and mayonnaise dressing squeeze bottles, with Hellmann's recycled jars to follow at the end of 2019. More than 200 million new Hellmann's bottles and jars will feature the How2Recycle label and artwork that highlights the brand's commitment to using recycled plastic, the company says.

"Switching to recycled plastic has a positive impact on the environment by reducing the amount of bottles sent to landfills and lowering greenhouse gas emissions," remarks Benjamin Crook, senior director, dressings and condiments, Unilever. "At Hellmann's, we strive for sustainability in all that we do, including helping customers make a responsible choice while still enjoying the products they love."

This is the first step for Hellmann's  to move its portfolio of products toward fully recyclable bottles and jars made from 100 percent recycled materials, the company says. The brand's commitment to using recycled plastic packaging is one way the brand is delivering on the Unilever Sustainable Living plan, the company's blueprint for sustainable growth.

Weleda, TerraCycle offer free recycling program

European personal care and beauty brand Weleda is partnering with TerraCycle, Trenton, New Jersey, to offer consumers an easy way to recycle scrap packaging from their skin food product line.

Through the Weleda Recycling Program, consumers can send in their empty packaging from the line of producting using a prepaid shipping label. Once collected, the packaging is cleaned and melted into hard plastic that can be remolded to make new recycled products. For every one pound of waste, collectors can earn TerraCycle charity points.

“We are pleased to be working with Weleda to offer consumers free recycling program to complement their new Skin Food line of products,” TerraCycle CEO and Founder Tom Szaky states in a release.“By participating in the Weleda Recycling Program, consumers have a unique opportunity to demonstrate their respect for the environment by diverting their packaging waste from landfills, as well as through the products that they choose to include in their beauty regimen.”