New technology enables recycling of paper cups

FCC Environmental Services, a leading waste management provider in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex, has installed new robotic sorting technology at its Materials Recovery Facility (MRF). This advanced technology will allow the MRF to begin accepting and sorting paper cups, and more efficiently capture food and beverage cartons from Greater Dallas area residents. This will ensure that the valuable fibers found in both types of containers can be used to make new paper-based products.

FCC joins a growing trend of MRFs and communities including paper cups and food and beverage cartons as part of their residential recycling programs. This initiative was made possible through a Collaborative Equipment Grant from the Paperboard Council of North America (CCNA), the Institute of Foodservice Packaging (REIT), and the NextGen Consortium.

“With the installation of this new robotic sorting technology, we are proud to expand and enhance our recycling capabilities and offer our customers in the Dallas metro area the ability to recycle paper cups and boxes,” said FCC Senior General Manager Bruce Magnuson.

“This robotic sorting and AI is a great example of how technology can help improve recycling and ultimately contribute to our circular economy by capturing more recyclable materials,” said Larine Urbina, Vice President of papers from the Cardboard Council. “We are proud to work with FCC to embrace innovation to expand recycling. Working with others along the recycling value chain is a cornerstone of the Carton Council’s strategy.

MRFs have several options for handling paper cups and cartons. While many MRFs include cups and cartons in mixed paper bales, FCC chose to sort this material into a premium bale. The new AMP robot plays a crucial role in mechanical recovery and makes it possible to sort these materials for the higher value market.

“Strengthening recycling infrastructure is key to creating a more circular future for packaging. The NextGen Consortium is thrilled to partner with FCC and other industry leaders to provide grants for new recycling technology that can help keep more valuable packaging, like cups and cartons, and reduce waste,” said Kate Daly, director of the Center for the Circular Economy at Closed Loop Partners––the NextGen Consortium’s managing partner.

“Our equipment grant program is designed to help organizations invest in new recycling infrastructure and drive innovation in waste management. We are thrilled to see the impact this is having in the Dallas metro area by expanding recycling to nearly half a million homes,” said Natha Dempsey, president of the Foodservice Packaging Institute.

Once paper cups and cartons enter the recycling system, they can be used by factories to make new paper products that consumers use every day, such as paper towels, toilet paper, towels and even new cups. Follow the progress of FCC and other recycling efforts at


ABOUT FCC: FCC has been a global industry leader since the 1900s. Today, FCC is one of the world’s largest waste management and recycling companies, with a presence in more than 35 countries. FCC’s more than 60,000 employees around the world interact with citizens daily and are focused on continuous improvement in sustainability. Recycling is central to FCC’s environmental services strategy, with the company employing a wide variety of technological solutions to ensure the greatest quantity and quality of recovered materials.

ABOUT THE CARDBOARD COUNCIL: The Carton Council is made up of four leading carton manufacturers, Elopak, Pactiv Evergreen, SAY And Tetra Pack. Formed in 2009, the Carton Council strives to provide long-term, collaborative solutions to divert valuable cartons from landfill. Through a united effort, the Carton Council is committed to building a sustainable infrastructure for cardboard recycling nationwide and is working toward its ongoing goal of adding access to cardboard recycling across the United States. .

ABOUT THE NEXTGEN CONSORTIUM: The NextGen Consortium is a multi-year consortium addressing single-use food packaging waste globally by advancing the design, commercialization and recovery of alternatives to food packaging. The NextGen Consortium is managed by the Closed Loop Partners’ Center for the Circular Economy. Starbucks and McDonald’s are founding partners of the Consortium. The Coca-Cola Company and PepsiCo are industry-leading partners. JDE Peet’s, Wendy’s and Yum! Brands are supporting partners. The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) is the environmental advisory partner. Learn more about

ABOUT FPI: Founded in 1933, the Foodservice Packaging Institute is the trade association for the foodservice packaging industry in North America. FPI promotes the value and benefits of foodservice packaging and plays an active role in promoting the recovery of FSPs to support the circular economy. The association is the industry’s leading authority for educating and influencing stakeholders. Members include raw material and machinery suppliers, manufacturers, distributors and purchasers of catering packaging. For more information, visit

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