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1 CUP = 6 compostable Napkins

We transform the current cups into compostable napkins. 1 cup is worth 6 high quality compostable recycled napkins.

Photo of Jordi Gomà-Camps Travé
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Idea Title

Idea Summary

Paper cup is already recyclable and it can well be turned into paper Napkins to be used on the stores or on the go. These high quality recycled napkins would be compostable, a circular solution!

Company / Organization Name (if applicable)

Gomà-Camps SAU

Website (if applicable)

Please include a visual (can be either 2D or 3D) representation/prototype of your concept. (required)

The current paper cups are already recyclable. It doesn't mean that the cup cannot be improved or made with other proposals as we have seen in the innovation platform. If the outcome of the challenge maintains a fiber based cup, it could be still recyclable. Fiber is always recoverable and will be always interesting to recycle it.

Our proposal seeks to recycle the paper cup into Napkins, another single use disposable product used quite a lot in restaurants or cafe stores either on site or on the go. Besides, the recovered cup once transformed into a Napkin, it becomes fully compostable. So a pretty circular solution that cover the sustainability of different products used in out of home rather than only the paper cup. It introduces the recycled napkin concept to the stores.

To recycle a logistic infrastructure must be set. This is already done worldwide with the waste paper.

Composition of the paper cups (aprox): 80% fibers and 20% plastic (polyethylene)

Industrially the plastic needs to be separated from the fiber. This is not difficult to be done in the right facilities. One of the key points is how to handle the tremendous volume of plastics. In our solution, once separated, the plastic can be compacted and sent for further recycling or thermal valorization.

The fiber stream can then be recycled. This fiber used to be a high quality fiber with no inks or dies on it. Nonetheless if the cup is printed directly on the paper (the fiber), undergoing simple recycling and deinking techniques it can fully and sustainably be transformed into a recycled paper products in our proposal to transform it into Napkins. Why is it so? Because napkins are another product extensively used in this kind of stores and it can be printed with an icon to communicate the global campaign.  If the company calls for another solutions the fiber can also be transform in toilet paper, hand towels…

In most of the stores/restaurants the napkins are virgin pulp based and we think that it is more sustainable to use recycled paper due to the napkin won't be recycled anymore. So switching from virgin pulp napkins to high quality recycled ones is more ecological. Circular economy, clearly.

Moreover the napkin would be fully compostable.

Thus, it could be said that a paper cup could be transformed into napkins, recycled plastic or produce energy, and that the napkins could then be composted, so that, used to harvest city gardens that would on their turn clean the city's air up.

A 50 cc paper cup can produce 30 grams of recycled polyethylene and up to 6 paper Napkins, similar to the 19,5 g virgin pulp napkin that could be in use now in McDonald's stores and with the same quality and functionality. The recycled and compostable could produce approximately 50 grams of organic compost per paper cup.

That means that the paper cups consumed in the stores would be sufficient to produce all the needed Napkins and then transformed into tons of compost.

Assuming an annual consumption of 50 Million cups in the USA, the recovery proposal would produce:

- 1500 tons of recycled polyethylene

- 300 Millions of Napkins, worth over 5800 tons of recycled tissue paper

- 2500 tones, at least, of organic compost, able to treat more than 150 hectares of agricultural land, more if one thinks about city parks and gardens.

Our proposal is fully compatible with other that try to improve the sustainability of the cup using other fiber sources or less plastic, and also with others trying to change or improve the collection of the paper cups or the collection logistics.

Not as the main scope of the proposal, it gives certain advices on the eco-design of the paper cup:

Cup system

- Fiber used could also be recycled

- Lid could be produced with the same paper/plastic composite as the paper cup

- Paper straws, already exist, and could be also recycled. They could be implemented

Delivery or return system

- Nothing changes in terms of functionality, quality or reliability, nor in the amount or type of work in the stores for the delivery of the goods.

- The give back, on the shop or other public relevant spots, such as parks or office buildings could integrate a compacting bin to recover the cups, or other systems, the cups just need to be collected apart with the lid and the straw and then sent with existing water paper recovery companies to the recycling facility

- The napkin quality, delivery system... won't change either, only its sustainability would be enhanced

-The napkins, if collected then after use with the organic waste, could be easily composted so closing a pretty nice circle

So keep it or improve it but above all recycle it!! and remember

1 cup --> 6 Napkins, plus recycled plastic and compost!!

Gomà-Camps SAU can implement the solution in southern Europe but plenty of players can easily replicate it all over the world.

How is your concept recoverable?

Involving end-users in the recoverability of the on the go cups with communication or promotional campaigns, they will be the main actors in bringing back to the restaurants/stores the cups. With this effort they will cooperate to recycle the paper from the cups into recycled napkins. This will be seen as a circular solution, as a way to give a second life to the cups. A campaign enhancing factor would be the compostability of the recycled napkins. Once turned into compost, it could be used for the city gardens where the restaurant/stores are established. In order to ensure cups recycling, we suggest also to use surrounding main company-offices. As a huge number of cups get to the offices, companies could reach agreements with waste collecting companies to place special recovery points (low levels of the buildings) for the cups. A clear example of CSR. Whilst, returning trips with recovered cups to the stores may increase their sales.

How have you incorporated additional sustainability attributes (beyond recoverability) into your solution?

The proposal not only recovers the cups, it can go further promoting the use of recycled napkins in the stores, a new ecofriendly approach. These napkins would be 100% compostable and certified with the most valued certifications such as FSC, Ecolabel, Green Seal. Thus we go beyond simply recycling the cup, improving the sustainability of another single use product and also compost can be produced to be used in the cities, helping fixing CO2 cleaning the air. A complete circular approach.

What regions do you plan to address with your solution (and how will you accomplish this)?

Goma-Camps is located in the north of Spain. We can quick and easily implement this solution in France, Spain and Portugal. Our +30 years of experience in the recycled tissue paper can help us getting in touch with current suppliers of recycled paper than can be in charge of bringing the cups to the Goma-Camps factory. In Europe and also in North America, other tissue papers companies are producing recycled paper. We can share our knowledge with them in order to produce napkins from the cups.

Describe your target market. Who will benefit from your product?

End-users: will enjoy the same cup experience, no problems with taste or any other related issues. They will be proud of playing an active role in the circular economy; drinking coffee or coke… they enable the production of high quality recycled napkins and disposing the napkin in the organic, they enable the transformation into compost for gardens of the cities, offices…contributing to clean the city’s air, all these concepts are key trends for: seniors, families, millennials… Restaurants/Stores: no changes in suppliers (easy), same cup experience, maintain benefits from cup-ads, communication to engage consumers with the brand, circular economy (CSR), city council involvement and +sales.

What is the current stage of development of your idea?

  • Full-scale roll-out

What are the biggest challenges you are facing today? What are existing gaps in your solution?

The separation system in the stores has to be studied as well as the collection of the on the go cups. But there are many ideas concerning this already posted in the innovation challenge platform, compatible with our solution. Logistically a network of waste paper recovery has to be in place. Most countries have those systems implemented and paper is sent to the recycling facilities. There, plastic separation and handling is a challenge but technology is already available to help. The main critical success factor is to secure the raw material. That means to stablish a win-win relationship with the companies that generate the waste. Then proceed with the full roll out that requires some process adaptation and investment to industrialize at scale up the idea. Trials have been successfully done.

Mentorship Needs (please select up to 3)

  • Business Model Development
  • Supply Chain
  • Fundraising / Finance

Tell us about yourself and your team. What is your background and experience?

Project team is made up of seven colleagues from different functional areas and level of responsibility inside of the company. Different profiles such as engineering, marketing, sales, quality, environment and food safety are represented within it.

In what city are you located?

La Riba

In what country are you located?


What is your legal / organizational structure? (if applicable)

Multinational family business group founded 260 years ago. Legal structure is spanish legal form of sociedad anonima unipersonal; SAU

Please describe how becoming a Top Idea will support the growth of your concept.

Being a top idea would definitely help to the establishment of a direct and long term relation with the stores, the companies such as Starbucks or McDonald's, to ensure the supply of the cups. Key steps: 1- Supply agreement – 3 month 2- Scale up investment – 4 month 3- Communication campaign -2 month Steps worked in paralel wit total lead time of 6 month. The funding would be used completely in the step 2. Communication would part of the consortium partners scope, so in their A&P budget

How did you hear about the Challenge?

  • In the news

Attachments (1)


Gomà-Camps's proposal . A complete circular aproach, from the cup to the napkin and from the napkin back to the earth. The production of high quality compostable recycled tissue napkins out of the current paper cups


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