Carbogenics’ innovative low carbon process converts waste paper cups and other low-value paper waste into CreChar® – a carbon-rich material that stimulates biogas production and improves plant growth.
Around 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups are thrown away each year – and that’s just in the UK!
The plastic coating which stops them leaking makes the cups difficult to recycle, so the majority of this waste is landfilled or incinerated – generating thousands of tons of carbon dioxide, an important greenhouse gas.
Recently, we discovered that a rather old process, called pyrolysis, offers a sustainable solution to up-cycle paper cups and other non-recyclable paper waste into a range of high-value products.
Turning cups into carbon
Our process uses pyrolysis to convert mineral-rich organic waste materials like disposable paper cups, low-grade recycled paper and paper mill sludge into high-value carbon composite materials (CreChar).
Pyrolysis is a low carbon technology.
Under the absence of oxygen, at high temperatures (350-800°C) biomass decomposes into gases, bio-oil and a carbon-rich solid. The gas and bio-oil can be used to produce energy or can be upgraded for the recovery of valuable chemicals.
The carbon in CreChar is in a very stable form, which means it is very resistant to being broken down by microbes and will not be released into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide for hundreds of years.
CreChar reduces carbon dioxide emissions up to half in comparison to paper cup waste that is incinerated.
Pencil drawings: Eliza Marcinowicz.
Animated and produced by Wee Dog Media.