Ecocup: For festivals without waste

You don’t have to look too far to find examples of how human recreation and leisure activities can impact negatively on the environment.  Wherever we go, we have a tendency to leave a trail of destruction in our wake – and this is never more evident than after an outdoor festival or music event.

We’ve all witnessed those scenes of unspoilt countryside, strewn with plastic bottles and cups, resulting in costly clean-up operations and the inevitable pollution of the wider environment by litter.  So when we heard from a French manufacturer keen to make disposable, promotional drinks cups a thing of the past, we didn’t need much convincing!

Founded in 1990 in the north of France, Nutripack is a family owned business that has successfully positioned itself as a leading manufacturer of rigid packaging for the food and catering industries.  The company also owns the Ecocup brand, manufacturing some 45 million eco-friendly reusable cups per year for a wide range of brands and events.

Ecocup were keen to find a solution to the fact that cups manufactured using in-mould labelling techniques were often not recyclable.  This is due to contamination of the substrate by the laminates used to protect the printed label during the hot injection moulding process.   

During a two-year R&D programme, we worked with Ecocup to perfect the manufacture of variable data digital IML labels, including the development of a customised over-laminate with specific resin coating that both adheres to HP indigo inks and also OPP base film where there is no ink.  The finished surface also had to release from the mould at high speed and pressure without degrading, and also withstand high temperatures during its working life, being subject to numerous high speed/temperature industrial dishwashing cycles.  

The result was the concept, design and manufacture of the T14 laminator, which integrated seamlessly with Ecocup’s existing production line and allowed them to produce a single-substrate cup with an excellent lifespan, that is also fully recyclable.

On the back of this development, Ecocup has positioned itself as a European leader in closed-loop manufacturing, collecting the used festival cups and grinding them down to make more cups from what would have otherwise been waste, in a circular model that is growing rapidly within the sector.

Having developed the T14 machine concept in direct response to Ecocup’s requirements, we continue to provide support including equipment maintenance and film stock control on schedule with increasing production volumes.  We’re very proud to say our T14 technology is now part of a process helping to promote global brands such as Coca Cola, Heineken, Johnson & Johnson, U2 and Le Tour de France as well as supporting greener marketing, promotions and events in some of the world’s most beautiful locations.

A spokesperson for Ecocup said:  “Enviraflex have listened to our needs and run numerous trials on printed stocks to help us perfect our unique production process – it has given us a new solution that the market didn’t even know it needed, guaranteeing the future of our business!”

For further details on Enviraflex thermal laminators and eco-friendly substrates, get in touch!