OCC Adds Recyclable Paper Cups in Fall 2016

Cups Will Reduce Waste, Create Revenue at Costa Mesa CampusStudents arriving at Orange Coast College on the first day of the Fall 2016 semester might notice something a little different about their morning brew.

OCC-reCUPThe College is introducing a new type of paper cup that can be efficiently and profitably recycled in an effort to reduce waste on campus. Traditionally, paper cups in the United States are coated on the inside with polyethylene coating, making them very difficult and expensive to recycle. In the U.S. alone, 58 billion paper coffee cups are destined for the landfill annually.


OCC’s new reCups, invented by Smart Planet Technologies of Newport Beach, have a special inside coating that will not only make them easier to recycle, but also will make them profitable to recycle. “This is a great closed-loop system,” says Coast Environmental Sustainability Coordinator Mike Carey. “Now that cups can be made for recycling, there is a market to sell the paper cups we collect.”


The reCUPs used by OCC’s food services and catering programs will be collected and baled at the College’s Recycling Center, which remains open while a new center is being built nearby. The revenue generated from selling the cups to a recyclable paper mill will fund a student scholarship.


“We’re taking a cost center and generating revenue that we will donate to students,” says Carey.


OCC is no stranger to sustainability, and has taken several steps to reduce waste and conserve energy on its 164-acre campus, including installing water bottle filling stations, solar panels, electric vehicle charging stations and drought tolerant landscaping. With this new recyclable cup program, the College hopes to serve as an example to other schools.

“We believe our efforts within our College and Recycling Center will provide a blueprint for recycling cups globally,” says Carey.


Orange Coast College, founded in 1947, is one of the nation's top transfer schools. With a student population of 25,000, OCC provides exemplary programs leading to Associate degrees and 130 career programs. The college's 164-acre campus is located in the heart of Costa Mesa.



Juan Gutierrez, Director, Marketing and Public Relations (714) 432-5725

Mike Carey, Environmental Sustainability Coordinator, Administrative Services (714) 432-5128