Paper, Recycle, Starbucks


Georgia-Pacific Professional is teaming up with Starbucks to test a recycling program that could go nationwide.

We’ve all heard the maxim, “reduce, reuse, recycle,” and now there’s a company that’s actively following its tenets and encouraging its customers to do the same.

Georgia-Pacific Professional, a company that produces paper products for the foodservice industry, along with other services, earlier this year teamed up with the National Restaurant Association to research the recycling practices of restaurant operators and the effects on consumer perceptions, traffic, and sales.

The company is also teaming up with Starbucks in a recycling trial that Georgia-Pacific Professional would love to expand if it’s successful.

John Mulcahy, vice president, strategy and category effectiveness, says Georgia-Pacific Professional is constantly looking for new ways to find fiber to manufacture its products.

He talks to RMGT:

How is Georgia-Pacific Professional working with the National Restaurant Association?

Our work with the National Restaurant Association has been an effort to better understand consumer and operator preferences and behaviors when it comes to increased recycling. There are materials that Georgia-Pacific Professional would find quite valuable in the waste streams if there is a supply chain that can get that waste paper to our recycled tissue mills at a cost that is competitive with our other sources of fiber.

So working with the NRA, we have found that both consumers and operators see benefit in the recycling process.

What are you doing with Starbucks?

We’re going through a period of experimental discovery with Starbucks. It’s been collecting used coffee cups at its [89] Chicago locations and we’ll use them as raw material—Georgia-Pacific’s mill in Green Bay, Wisconsin, will turn them into napkins.

We also get other products like boxes from grocery stores and they go into a recipe to make napkins.



This is a very interesting conversation that the industry needs to address, and I'm encouraged by NRA's participation in the dialogue. Actually, I recently wrote about the "cups debate" on our company blog. Let me know what you think!


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