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Essity and McDonald’s closing the loop for paper cups in Germany

In Germany, discarded paper cups for beverages, milkshakes, and ice cream cups from McDonald's restaurants will be recycled to make professional hygiene paper under Sweden-headed global hygiene and health company Essity AB's "Tork" brand.

In Germany, paper beverages, milkshakes, and ice cream cups from McDonald’s restaurants will be re-used to make professional hygiene paper under global hygiene and health company Essity AB’s “Tork” brand (photo courtesy Essity).

In 2020, Essity, logistics partner HAVI, and McDonald’s Deutschland LLC began piloting different opportunities to give paper cup waste a new life. The pilot showed that Essity can successfully use the discarded paper cups, after they have been shredded, as material for some of their mills and turn them into Tork branded toilet paper.

It’s exciting to work with our customers on sustainability projects like this. Combining our recycling technology and knowledge of circular services with McDonald’s Deutschland LLC sustainability ambitions is enabling a future business model that helps to close the loop, said Don Lewis, President Essity Professional Hygiene.

Following the successful pilot, a new agreement means that all collected paper cup waste from McDonald’s restaurants in Germany will be recycled, reducing waste by an estimated 1 200 tonnes annually.

The deal seen is a win for both companies as it helps to cut the waste and carbon footprint for McDonald’s Deutschland while Essity is able to fulfill its own circular ambitions.

The solution is an extension of the Tork PaperCircle recycling service, which is Essity’s award-winning circular service for recycling used paper towels into toilet paper.

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