Our biodegradable paper cups and ice cream cups are marked with the label ‘AA’ to indicate that they’re highly recyclable. But what exactly does 'AA' mean, and why is it so important for us to be able to offer our customers products with this label?

What does ‘AA’ mean?

When a specific product is certified AA-recyclable, this means that it has a recyclability of 92%. In this case, it means that our paper cups and ice cream cups have a very high degree of recyclability, and that they can technically be recycled along with regular paper! AA is the third-highest achievable ranking in terms of degree of recyclability, with AAA and ultimately AAA+ surpassing it. This last classification is practically an unobtainable certificate to achieve on packaging unless it’s pure printer paper.

In addition to the ‘AA’ label, you will also find a label on the bottom of our biodegradable cups with the number ‘21’ to indicate that they belong with sorted paper. This is intended for helping waste facilities differentiate between these cups and ordinary cups, as it can otherwise be very difficult to know the difference between them, and to make sure they are not thrown into paper waste. 

However, the recycling industry can be slow in adapting to these new products if they are not forced by certain laws to do it, and since it is often more economical to not separate too much waste, they might not allow for the cups to be recycled with regular paper. So before you throw them in the paper waste, it is a good idea to make sure that your local recycling facilities will accept cup-looking products in their stream. To make it easier for themselves, some places might be so used to picking out normal plastic-coated paper cups that they don’t want to allow recyclable cups.

What makes AA certified cups better than regular cups?

Ordinary paper cups usually contain a thin layer of plastic so they can hold liquid and not leak. They are usually produced with a coating of PE (polyethylene), which makes them neither compostable or recyclable. Some paper cups are instead produced with a coating of PLA-plastic, which is made from plant-based resources. While cups with this coating are mostly presented as an eco-friendly alternative because of their biodegradability and in general more environmentally friendly production, they are still almost impossible to recycle, and should be thrown in ordinary trash, or if local facilities allow it, in industrial compost (never home compost). In general, recycling PE- and PLA-coated cups is nearly impossible, and most countries do not have the facilities to do it. 

But what makes the AA-certified cups so much better? Unlike PE- and PLA-coated cups, AA-recyclable cups are produced with a water-based coating made from latex and minerals. This plastic-free coating not only makes them biodegradable but, more importantly, fully recyclable with paper.

So keep an eye out for our recyclable products, like our: 

Single wall paper cups

Double walled paper cups

Ice cream cups

Limepack and sustainability 

At Limepack, we are very committed to the environment and always strive to offer even more sustainable solutions, which is why it is of great importance to us that we can offer our customers products that are AA certified. But what else do we do for the environment at Limepack?

We cooperate exclusively with manufacturers within Europe, and while this comes with many great advantages, the one we value the most is without a doubt the short and thus more environmentally friendly transportation, where a lot less CO2 is emitted.