A Green Cup of Coffee

On this week’s Convenience Matters podcast, one company shares its alternative to unrecyclable hot beverage cups.

July 31, 2019

ALEXANDRIA, Va.—On this week’s episode of Convenience Matters, “Reimagining Convenience Store Packaging,” NACS hosts Jeff Lenard, vice president of strategic industry initiatives, and Carolyn Schnare, director of strategic initiatives, discuss how to keep coffee cups out of landfills with Robert Krupp, co-chairman at Rich and Rhine Wholesale, and Todd Gasparik, vice president of business development for Smart Planet Technologies.

Sustainability issues are something that every business will have to face sooner rather than later. “Consumers have become aware of the issues with waste and are looking for brands and service providers they interact with to make sustainable choices in the products that they offer and the services that they provide,” Gasparik said. “For the convenience store industry, the goals would be to minimize the impact of the packaging used and [increase] efforts to ensure waste is managed optimally.”

Younger consumers have been driving the conversation about more sustainability and more environmentally friendly packaging. “I think we’re beyond the backlash of consumers at this point and the elimination of non-recyclables is a ticking clock, and bans are coming at an accelerated pace from a number of different municipalities,” Krupp said. “We need to find solutions for packaging types that will be easily recyclable and more sustainable whatever the end destination is for that product. … Sustainability and profitability don’t need to be mutually exclusive activities.”

Unfortunately, paper cups for hot liquids all too often end up in the landfill because of the difficulty conventional recyclers have processing those materials. “There are a variety of different packaging applications that are really going to require the industry as a whole to take notice and to start developing smarter use of materials,” Gasparik said.

The good news is that companies are creating truly sustainable hot liquid cups. For example, Smart Planet Technologies has developed reCup, a hot and cold cup with a mineralized coating that allows it to be processed through traditional paper recycling streams. For information about reCup’s sustainable c-store packaging products, click here.

Each week a new Convenience Matters episode is released. The podcast can be downloaded on iTunes, Google Play and other podcast apps, and at www.conveniencematters.com. Episodes have been downloaded by listeners more than 60,000 times in 80 countries.