North Carolina and South Carolina are expanding their curbside recycling programs. Efforts are being made to include paper cups in residential recycling programs across both states. This announcement is made in partnership with the Foodservice Packaging Institute (FPI), a leading industry association working to increase recovery of foodservice packaging. FPI is working closely with local material recovery facilities (MRFs) and paper mills to add this highly desirable fiber as an acceptable commodity for curbside recycling.   

“This recycling initiative in North Carolina and South Carolina represents a significant milestone in the advancement of sustainability and recycling efforts. Our team has worked closely with stakeholders in both states, and we are thrilled to witness the realization of this initiative. This is the initial phase of our roll-out plan, and we plan to extend our collaboration with counties and cities across the Carolinas ,” said Natha Dempsey, president of the Foodservice Packaging Institute. 

To ensure the success of this new development, FPI is partnering with local communities to launch educational campaigns informing residents about the acceptance of clean and empty paper cups for recycling. The first partnership will be with New Hanover County, North Carolina, which sends collected recyclables to Sonoco Recycling for processing. Recovered material will be supplied to the Sonoco paper mill in Hartsville, South Carolina, where it be converted into new products, advancing the circular economy in the region. 

“Leading this recycling initiative in the Carolinas is a source of great excitement for us, and we envision this partnership as a blueprint for future collaborations throughout the Carolinas and beyond. This partnership is an important step in the right direction towards keeping these materials in the regional economy,” said Joe Suleyman, solid waste director of New Hanover County. 

This initiative will kick off at the Carolina Recycling Association (CRA) conference with a press conference on March 29. Representatives from the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, and Sonoco Recycling will attend. During the event, they will discuss recovery efforts and steps to ensure residents are well-informed about how to recycle paper cups and reduce contamination. 

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