Category Archives: all news

On-site composting at Dundee and Angus College

Dundee and Angus College

For Dundee and Angus College in Scotland, on-site composting provided an ideal solution for them to take control of their food waste, reducing packaging in canteens, and move away from plastics in food service. 

The first thing the College needed was a packaging supplier that could offer a sustainable, compostable solution to aid their on-site composting ambitions.

Why Vegware?

Vegware’s packaging is made from plants, not plastic, and designed to be composted with food waste.  

On choosing Vegware as a sustainable packing supplier, Jackie Beresford at Dundee and Angus College commented:

The quality of the product along with the very good customer service is the reason why we use Vegware and continue to do so.”

Because Vegware’s products are compostable, they can be combined with food waste and processed in Dundee and Angus College’s own composter.

With help from food waste experts, Tidy Planet, the college operates an on-site composter called The Rocket Composter. The Rocket speeds up composting by providing it with a perfect environment in which to thrive; moisture, heat and air is all controlled. 

Dundee and Angus College

How it works

Vegware worked with Dundee and Angus College to create bespoke bin signage in the canteens to reduce contamination. All compostable packaging and food waste goes into one bin – there’s no need to clean, sort or separate any of it.

Food waste and Vegware is gathered, shredded and de-watered together in a macerator. From here on it is combined with other green waste and woodchips inside The Rocket composter. In as little as 14 days the gardeners at Dundee and Angus College have access to a high-quality mulch they can use on the College garden.

Dundee and Angus College

Savings in carbon and cost

The process saves money and carbon, and is easy to manage. It’s a great circular approach that takes place on the same site from start to finish. Coffee cups, coffee grinds and food waste can realistically be handled by the gardeners as a mulch on the ground in 14 days’ time. The system has a 20-year life span, but equipment of this scale can often pay for itself in less than five years. 

Collecting waste and sending it to landfill, a recycling plant or a composting facility can take several trips based on how much waste a business accumulates. By composting on-site, Dundee and Angus College saves both money and carbon. Hugh Crampton from Tidy Planet explains:

“By doing something like this, instantly you’ve reduced two or three vehicles movements per week for the collection of those wastes. If you add that mileage up for a collection vehicle for 20 years and that’s a whole lot of carbon emissions you’ve just avoided.”

Dundee and Angus College

Watch the full video here.

Total World Environment Day Event

World Environment day

To celebrate World Environment Day we were invited to attend an event set up by Total to speak to children from an Aberdeen school. The focus of the day was to educate and raise awareness of recycling to the children through a range of engaging activities.

World Environment day

The kids were treated to a tour of Total’s recycling set-up and we brought along some Vegware products and our interactive ‘Bin Detective’ activity. This involved a presentation from a member of our Environmental team where we looked at the benefits of recycling and composting. We then tested out their knowledge through introducing them to a variety of Vegware products.

world environment day

One of the highlights of the day for the kids was the introduction of the ‘Smoothie Bike’. The premise behind this being that the pedalling of the bike generated the energy needed to start the smoothie maker. A delicious smoothie proved to be the perfect reward for their hard work. We had a great day at Total’s event and we’re sure the kids took on board some useful recycling knowledge.

River Cottage Spring Food Fair 2017

River Cottage Spring Food Fair

We were lucky enough to visit River Cottage’s Spring Food Fair for the second year running. Working alongside Vegware last year, River Cottage achieved a 72% recycling rate by serving all food on compostable packaging. With UK events averaging around 15% for recycling, our Vegware team went to River Cottage with the intention of building further on last year’s success.

River Cottage Spring Food Fair

Vegware’s packaging is made from plants, not plastic, and it’s designed to be recycled with food waste. This means food doesn’t need to be separated from its packaging as it can all be recycled together. This is something our Vegware team wanted to communicate to everyone attending the event.

River Cottage Spring Fair Festival

Vegware’s team oversaw River Cottage’s recycling and made sure contamination was kept to a minimum through our clear bin signage, posters and engagement with visitors and stall holders throughout the event site. As well as this, our team were on hand to answer any general questions attendees had about how to recycle their Vegware. We thoroughly enjoyed our long weekend at River Cottage Spring Food Fair and we’re looking forward to seeing our Vegware waste returning to River Cottage as fresh compost.

River Cottage Spring Food Fair

5 Sustainable Vegetarian Sandwich Stops in Edinburgh

British Sandwich Week

Over the past ten years Edinburgh has seen a boom in vegetarian and vegan delis and restaurants opening across the city. Where there’s a demand there has to be a supply and Edinburgh can definitely consider itself a leader in catering for this fast-growing demographic. From the growth of vegetarianism and veganism as a dietary choice to an increasing rise in health-conscious consumers, Edinburgh’s restaurants and delis are quickly becoming masters of food innovation. As well as addressing the trends of consumers, our customers are keen to ditch plastic in favour of a plant-based sustainable packaging alternative.

To celebrate National Vegetarian Week and British Sandwich Week we popped in to see 5 of our customers and sample some of their innovative vegetarian sandwiches.

Hanks Sandwich Bar

162 Fountainbridge

EH3 9RX

0131 228 4050

We started off in Hanks Sandwich where we sampled a panini that included guacamole, spicy bean, red pepper mayo and cheese. To accompany this we had a frittata which included roasted spiced cauliflower and spinach. Situated a short walk from our Vegware offices, Hanks is a lunch-time favourite among our hungry staff.

Milk Café Bar

232 Morrison Street

EH3 8EA

0131 629 6022

Next stop, we made the short trip over to MILK on Morrison Street. We sampled their delicious wrap below, containing roasted courgette, spiced almond butter, roasted chick peas, quinoa, coriander and watercress. With a few other cafes across Edinburgh, MILK has a great range of vegan and vegetarian salads, wraps and sandwiches.

Hula Juice Café

103-105 West Bow

EH1 2JP

0131 220 1121

Just situated off Edinburgh’s Grassmarket on West Bow we visited Hula Juice Café. Along with some lovely brownies we picked up one of their vegan sourdough sandwiches with a filling of caramelised onion hummus, roasted aubergine, cucumber, sundried tomato and peppers. Well known for their smoothies and juices, their food menu contains a great range of vegetarian soups, wraps and sandwiches.

Organic Delicious Café

26 Morningside Road

EH10 4DA

0131 629 9861

A quick jaunt across town led us to the Organic Delicious Cafe in Morningside. We were treated to their Veggie Delight Sandwich. Served on freshly baked homemade ciabatta were thick mature cheddar cheese, avocado, pesto and cucumber. Deeply passionate about organic living, Organic Delicious Café source all their ingredients ethically and organically.

Brochan

24 Marchmont Crescent

EH9 1HG

0131 629 2622

For our next and final stop we took a walk across Bruntsfield links to Morningside to visit Brochan where we were treated to another tasty vegan dish. Spread across spelt sour dough was avocado and their ever-colourful beetroot and raspberry hummus, both were sprinkled with toasted seeds. If you get the chance to pop in make sure to try their porridge and granola.

Waste

Why should you start thinking differently about waste?

At Vegware, we want to change the way people think about ‘waste’. This word has connotations of useless, unwanted items that are thoughtlessly discarded. Traditionally, our linear economy has made it easier, faster and cheaper to dump or burn used materials. And the language we use encourages us to become more detached from these processes. But as materials become scarcer and our planet is increasingly strained, we must realise that all products have the potential to become another resource: it all depends on how we treat them.

‘Food waste’ is a perfect example. This material is not waste at all – it is a valuable resource! Not only do our potato peelings and banana peels have the potential to produce gas that can be converted into renewable energy, our food waste can also become a nutrient-rich fertiliser. Composting is the process of handling food waste in a controlled environment, encouraging decomposition by ensuring that the materials have a balance of heat, microbes, oxygen and water. The result: a wonderful, organic product that can be returned to soil and benefit the growth of more food and plants. Dr Anne Bhogal, Senior Research Scientist at ADAS took the time to explain in more detail:

Soils are one of our most precious natural resources, but are under threat due to erosion, compaction and loss of organic matter. Recycling compost back to agricultural land is a valuable way to increase soil organic matter levels and improve soil health which will in turn lead to more sustainable and resilient cropping systems.

Unfortunately, around the world many people do not appreciate the importance of sustaining healthy soil. In the United States, soil is often referred to as ‘dirt’ – which, like ‘waste’, has negative connotations! Few people understand that our ability to grow food is dependent on the quality of this soil. In the UK, our soils are badly damaged: research suggests that with increased soil depletion, there could be only 100 harvests left. We need to protect our soil to ensure food security for ourselves, and the next generation.

Compost has an essential role to play in this protection. Applying compost to land returns valuable nutrients to the soil, that may have been lost due to heavy agricultural practices. As the UK experiences more flooding incidents due to climate change, compost is particularly important as it makes soil more resistant to increased rainfall and stops run-off. But don’t take our word for it! Dr Jane Gilbert, an expert in biological treatment (e.g. composting) processes explained to us why it is so important to increase composting in the UK:

Composting is nature’s way of recycling organic wastes and is as relevant in 2017 as ever before. Britain’s arable soils are suffering from a chronic loss of organic matter and quality composts are an excellent way of helping stem this loss and re-build soil organic carbon. Not only does this improve soil function, it also acts as​ a carbon sink, helping combat climate change.

The research shows that compost can have a key role to play in tackling climate change. The organics recycling sector and agricultural sector have the power to use this valuable resource to restore our soils. But most importantly, we must change our mind-set around organic materials. In nature, there is no ‘dirt’ or ‘waste’. There are only resources that are not being valued and protected. We must change that.

Find out more about the importance of protecting our soils:

ADAS – http://www.adas.uk/

Farmers Weekly (2015) ‘Only 100 harvests left in UK farm soils, scientists warn’ – http://www.fwi.co.uk/news/only-100-harvests-left-in-uk-farm-soils-scientists-warn.htm

Organics Recycling (2016) ‘Combating Climate Change’, Spring 2016: Issue 29, pp. 48-49

WRAP DC-Agri research – http://www.wrap.org.uk/content/digestate-and-compost-agriculture-dc-agri

International Compost Awareness Week

Compost: Why should you care about it?

This week, which you may not know, is International Compost Awareness Week. As you may know, Vegware’s products are compostable which means they can be broken down into compost, so we thought we’d take a look at why compost is so important to the Earth.

First off, what exactly is compost? Compost is the substance produced when organic materials decompose in a controlled environment. A balance of high temperatures, oxygen and moisture provides the perfect setting for micro-organisms to break down organic waste, releasing nutrients and creating a valuable material for agricultural and horticultural use.

So, why is it important? Compost plays an important role in improving soil conditions and functionality, as it helps return valuable nutrients that have been lost in the agricultural process. Compost helps improve nutrient content and soil structure. It also plays a key role in suppressing plant disease and pest problems, maintaining moisture and saving water.

Compost also plays a key role in combating climate change and reducing our carbon footprint. Research shows that compost can support in sequestering carbon as it returns organic matter to the soil. Composting organic materials provides a carbon storage, which can help cut greenhouse gas emissions.

So where does Vegware come into all of this? By composting organic material such as food waste and Vegware packaging, our waste can become a valuable resource. This process keeps biodegradable materials out of landfill and turns them into useful new products, whilst also reducing carbon emissions.

Keep an eye on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram channels this week as we’ll be posting more across International Compost Awareness Week.

 

We’re hiring! Client Support Advisor in Edinburgh

We’re looking for an applicant for a busy and varied role who will be able to work independently and as a member of the team to deliver high quality customer service and support the activities of our sales and administration staff.  This is a full time, permanent role.

Working hours are Monday – Friday 9am to 5:30pm.

Key Responsibilities
• Working as part of a team to deliver excellent customer service to our clients.
• Be the first point of contact for customers, handling inbound orders, enquiries and issues.
• Follow up, account management and other outbound sales and marketing activities.
• General administrative tasks.
The applicant
• Articulate and highly motivated with excellent interpersonal skills
• The ability to confidently tackle multiple tasks, organising your workload and prioritise appropriately
• Flexible and adaptable
• Inventive, resourceful and engaged in the company
• Spanish, German or French language skills desirable, but not essential.

If you have the skills, passion, and commitment required, and are interested in joining an exciting company then please apply here.

Vegware compostable packaging eco range

Watch our new ‘All About Vegware’ animation!

We’re delighted to share our latest film with you. It tells the full Vegware story – what we do, and why we do it.

It explains why Vegware is different to conventional packaging. Being made from 100% plant-based materials, Vegware’s entire range of completely compostable food packaging is designed to be recycled with food waste.

Watch how we do it, and how we can support your business in doing the same.

vegware 6oz kraft single wall hot cup compostable eco packaging

New! 6oz kraft hot cup

Meet the newest addition to the Vegware kraft hot cup family! At 6oz, it’s perfect for artisan coffee – think flat whites and long blacks.

Like all of our hot cups, the 6oz kraft cup is made from sustainably sourced board with a lining made from plants, not plastic. Matching compostable lids are available.

The cup is part of the kraft single wall collection, with sizes ranging from 4oz to 16oz.

Looking for more information or samples? Contact us on 0330 223 0400 or info@vegware.co.uk.

vegware compostable recycling packaging debate

We’re in the Sunday Times SME Export Fast Track 100!

We’re delighted to announce that Vegware has been placed at No. 50 in the Sunday Times SME Export Fast Track 100.

The Sunday Times Lloyds SME Export Track 100 ranks Britain’s 100 small and medium-sized (SME) companies with the fastest-growing international sales over the previous two years.

The position recognises Vegware’s global expansion. We operate in four continents, providing customers with eco packaging, waste consultancy and bespoke branding services. With customers from Barbados to the Seychelles, Vegware is set for further expansion in the coming year.

Congratulations to everyone else on the list, and a massive thank you from the whole Vegware team to our customers and supporters across the world.