Category Archives: events

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.

 

vegware compostable recycling packaging debate

Vegware responds: Parliament debate on banning non-compostable packaging

A recent petition was circulated which called the UK government to ban all non-recyclable and non-compostable packaging in the UK. Garnering over 75,000 signatures, it was selected for debate on 23rd January – if you missed it, you can catch up here or read the response.

Vegware welcomes debate and we were delighted to see the issue of recycling taking such a major platform. We would however like to see more leadership from government to create a roadmap to maximum recycling. We have no doubt manufacturers would respond to this with the innovation and flair that exists in the industry.

Our focus is foodservice where compostable packaging is the right solution. Other types of packaging need to be treated differently and we must recognise this as we devise the best way forward for each waste category.

The debate raised many valid and relevant points around the environmental contribution of effective packaging, for example in preventing food waste in the supply chain. There were also some familiar objections to compostable packaging raised which we would like to comment on.

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Design Museum Vegware compostable packaging eco

Vegware featured in the Design Museum!

We’re delighted to be featured in the Design Museum as the UK’s first compostable packaging.

Our colourful Tutti Frutti ice cream spoon is sitting proudly in their permanent ‘Designer Maker User’ exhibition. One of our designers, Alice, was excited to spot it on a recent visit – just look at that smile!

It’s a huge honour to be recognised for our design work and innovation in such a prestigious setting.  If you’re in the London area, check out the museum in its swanky new location in Kensington.

vegware compostable packaging eco friendly christmas jumper cups

Christmas opening times and last order dates

It’s that time of year again! Before we all get in to the serious business of stuffing our faces with mince pies and squabbling with distant family members, make sure you’re stocked up on Vegware for the Christmas period.

We’ll be closed from the 24th – 27th December and the 31st December – 2nd January. The last order dates to guarantee delivery before Christmas are:

UK

Pallets – 1pm Tuesday 20th December

Parcels – 3pm Wednesday 21st December

Europe 

Pallets – 1pm Monday 12th December

Parcels – 1pm Thursday 15th December

Need an emergency delivery between Christmas and New Year? Drop orders@vegware.co.uk an email for more information, or call us on 0330 223 0400.

The Vegware team wish everyone a very merry Christmas, and a happy new year!

vegware compostable coffee cup recycling manchester coffee festival

We’re Manchester Coffee Fest’s official sustainability partner!

We love a good coffee festival. Alongside the amazing smells and sights of coffee being made and the delicious samples on offer, it’s great to see new trends and innovation on the coffee scene. That’s why we’re delighted to announce we’re Manchester Coffee Festival’s first ever official sustainability partner!

Sustainability is a new focus for the festival. Spurred on by reports earlier in the year of coffee cup recycling issues, festival organisers Cup North decided it was time to take action. As well as inviting Vegware to be their official sustainability partner, the festival has also created the Vegware Sustainability Hub – an area dedicated to workshops and talks on waste and recycling issues in the coffee industry.

Taking place on the 5th-6th November, the festival will also bring together independent coffee shops, roasteries, importers and baristas from across the north of England for a weekend of talks, tastings and even a coffee-themed cinema.

Don’t miss Vegware’s workshop on coffee cup recycling, explaining the issues the UK currently faces and the compostable solution. Hosted by our Recycling Advisor Kate Chambers, you can catch us at 12pm on Saturday 5th and 2:30pm on Sunday 6th November.

vegware eco packaging compostable plants scottish business awards 2016

We’ve been shortlisted for the Scottish Business Awards!

It’s time to get the glad rags on again! Vegware are delighted to announce that we’ve been shortlisted for the Green Business of the Year at the Scottish Business Awards.

The award ceremony, taking place on the 17th November, features Academy Award winning actor, producer and environmental activist Leonardo DiCaprio as the keynote speaker.

The award “recognises the businesses which have shown outstanding leadership in achieving environmental goals alongside its business objectives”. We’ve been nominated for our innovative solution to zero waste in foodservice – using only compostable packaging, and recycling it with food waste.

Keep your fingers crossed for us!

Coffee cup recycling – it’s time for a change

Have you seen the news? Coffee cup recycling is making the headlines again. Last night on BBC1, Hugh’s War on Waste revealed that almost all of the 7 million coffee cups we use every day in the UK go to landfill or incineration, despite many of them claiming to be recyclable.

“The truth is,” says Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, ”they are barely recyclable at all – in the everyday, commonly understood sense of the word. They cannot be recycled through any of the normal public waste collection services – who are consistently diverting them to be incinerated or sent to landfill.”

We believe it’s time for a change.

With 10,000 cups disposed of every two minutes, consumers are demanding action. Here’s our compostable solution:

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river cottage vegware compostable recycling festival

New film! River Cottage Fair goes compostable with Vegware

River Cottage’s Spring Food Fair achieved an impressive 72% recycling rate by serving all food on Vegware compostable packaging; their best ever result. Our new film shows you how we did it.

Aiming to beat the UK event average of 15%, River Cottage trialled Vegware’s compostable packaging and recycling support. After the three-day event, 680kg of used takeaway packaging was composted with food waste at Viridor’s nearby composting facility. In less than 12 weeks this soil improver will be available to River Cottage’s gardens and local farmers.

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soup container vegware eco packaging street food festival summer compostable

The Vegware summer variety show

Thanks to the good old British weather, it might not always be very apparent – but summer time is well and truly upon us.

In between eating lots of ice cream, firing up barbecues and slapping on the factor 50, we’ve been quite busy here at Vegware HQ. Whatever you’re up to this summer, we’ve got you covered.

Streetfood

Catch this summer trend with our Tasting Notes collection. Fresh, funky colours across the whole range make vibrant flavours and textures pop.

Festivals

Show off your festival food fare in bagasse (recycled sugarcane) takeaway boxes and gourmet bases. We’re also a dab hand at helping festivals go zero waste; here’s our film on how we helped the Edinburgh Mela do just that!

Al fresco dining

Longer days and warmer temperatures are the perfect setting for picnics and barbecues. Vegware’s bagasse (recycled sugarcane) tableware is the perfect accompaniment. It’s sturdier than paper plates, 99% less carbon than plastic and available in a variety of sizes. Putting on something special? Our palm leaf tableware kicks it up a notch.

Events & Leisure

Cold cups are perfect for soda (or something stronger) at stadium events, while our food cartons are available in five sizes for everything from churros and chocolate sauce to hot dogs and fries.