Essity and McDonald’s Team to Turn Paper Cups Into Toilet Paper

Lisa Johnston
Senior Editor
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Essity will use shredded McDonald’s paper cups as material in its Tork-branded toilet paper. Editorial credit: 8th.creator /
Essity will use shredded McDonald’s paper cups as material in its Tork-branded toilet paper. Editorial credit: 8th.creator /

Essity has an unlikely new partner in its sustainability efforts: McDonald's.

The two companies have teamed for an initiative that uses shredded paper cups from the fast-food giant as materials in Essity’s Tork-branded toilet paper.

Building on a pilot that began last year, Essity and McDonald’s Deutschland are working with logistics provider HAVI in Germany. Essity is using the shredded paper material in some of its mills with the intention of enabling a future business model, extending its existing Tork PaperCircle recycling service that uses recycled paper towels for toilet paper materials.    

As part of its sustainability commitments, Essity recently increased its innovation target so that at least 50% of all innovations should yield a social and/or environmental improvement. It measures sustainable innovations as share of revenue from innovations launched in the last three years.

[Learn more about furthering sustainability goals in manufacturing in Close the Innovation Loop with Traceability and Lifecycle Intelligence]

Don Lewis, president of Essity professional hygiene, described such sustainability partnerships with McDonald’s as exciting. “Combining our recycling technology and knowledge of circular services with McDonald's Deutschland LLC sustainability ambitions is enabling a future business model that helps to close the loop.”  

All of the paper cup waste from McDonald's sites in Germany will be recycled, which Essity anticipated will reduce waste by 1,200 tons per year.

Separately, the No. 43 consumer goods company also announced a new mobile app that enables consumers to assess their wounds and help healthcare providers choose an appropriate treatment product.

Developed with Swiss healthcare startup Imito AG, the Cutimed Wound Navigator app records and determines wound characteristics through image capture, summarizing assessments through digital reports that can be extracted for documentation. The app was created within Essity Ventures, the healthcare company’s start-up partner initiative, and it intends to provide healthcare professionals with more time for patient care.

The iOS and Android app is initially launching in Germany and will be available in other countries next year.

Headquartered in Stockholm, Essity sells in around 150 countries. Products in its portfolio include Tork, TENA and JOBST.

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