Category Archives: food waste and recycling

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We’re celebrating #InternationalCompostAwarenessWeek

It’s probably not a big surprise that we love talking about compost. It’s an important resource, returning nutrients to the soil, fortifying plant growth and diverting organic waste from landfill. It’s why we’ve ensured all of our packaging is certified compostable and designed to be recycled with food waste – meaning it continues to be useful even after use.

And it’s not just good for the environment. Due to increasing landfill tax, businesses are increasingly turning to composting solutions for their food waste as a means of saving money.

#InternationalCompostAwarenessWeek aims to showcase the importance of compost and demonstrate it in action. Vegware and the Food Waste Network will be celebrating on Twitter all week with a range of films, infographics and composting facts.

Vegware lifecycle – cup to compost, fork to field from Vegware on Vimeo.

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Vegware wins 2nd Queens’ Award for unique zero waste support – our 60th award!

We’re delighted to announce that we’ve won our second Queen’s Award for Enterprise.

To make matters even more exciting, it’s our 60th accolade – and it’s awarded on the Queen’s 90th birthday in her 50th award year. First winning in 2013 for Sustainable Development, the latest award is in recognition of the innovative work Vegware is doing to help businesses recycle used packaging and food waste. We’re celebrating with our new film, and by launching our Green Tree collection. Our MD Joe Frankel says:

“Winning the Queen’s Award again is a huge honour. The journey has been fantastic – when we started, the only option for used takeaway packaging was to go to landfill or incineration, as most still does.

But we changed that by creating the widest range of genuinely compostable plastic-free catering disposables, and simultaneously working closely with the waste sector to ensure recycling options for clients all around the UK. With the current appetite for recycling, we are soon announcing a crowdsourcing campaign to create additional composting routes. We are proud to be a sustainability leader in foodservice.”

Thank you to all of our wonderful customers for their ongoing support – we hope you can join us in celebrating this award win.

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Vegware Footprint Awards 2016

We’re finalists in the Footprint Awards 2016 – twice!

We’re very pleased to announce that we’ve been shortlisted for two 2016 Footprint Awards, in the Innovations in Packaging and Waste Management & Reduction categories.

We’ve been the lucky recipients of three Footprint Awards in the past – two in 2013 and one in 2012. These most recent accolades are in recognition of our innovative, low carbon compostable packaging solutions, and the work Vegware’s Food Waste Network does with our customers to help them go zero waste.

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New film! #wastenot: the compostable solution to coffee cup recycling

Coffee cup recycling – the compostable solution | #WasteNot from Vegware on Vimeo.

Here’s our new animation – watch and share to help us spread the message far and wide.

There’s been a lot of talk in the news recently on the problem of coffee cup recycling. Hugh’s War on Waste reported the shocking statistic that less than 1 in 400 cups in the UK are recycled, despite many claiming to be recyclable. That’s a big problem when  more than 7 million a day are used, with the vast majority ending up in landfill or incineration. And it’s not just cups – the same applies to a lot of the takeaway packaging we use every day. Continue reading

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Cup recycling and Hugh’s War on Waste – the Vegware view

This week, everyone has suddenly realised that conventional plastic-lined cups are rarely recycled – something we’ve known for a long time. Hugh’s War on Waste has done an excellent job of highlighting the challenges of recycling conventional foodservice packaging. This is a problem that Vegware solves.

“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.

Hugh’s War on Waste focused on coffee cups (as did the Guardian, the Daily Mail, Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine show and more). But it’s about more than just cups – it’s the same issue for all takeaway packaging. 

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Conventional packaging uses various materials with mixed recycling streams, but compostable packaging is designed for food waste recycling

Conventional takeaway packaging uses a mix of materials (plastic, card, films, metals). Conventional coffee cups are lined with plastic, and sandwich boxes are card with a plastic window. Separately, plastic and card are easy to recycle. But combined, the card contaminates the plastics recycling and the plastic contaminates the card recycling. Then in use, add in the food inevitable residues. The result is a recycling problem – the reason why most UK foodservice packaging goes to landfill or incineration.

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Our Roundtable today – the new 5kg threshold for food waste in Scotland

FWN_icon_binmangnifying_1404The Scottish Waste Regulations have introduced some of the UK’s most forward-thinking zero waste legislation. All food businesses (including schools, hospitals and nursing homes and pretty much anywhere preparing or serving food) must introduce food waste recycling.

Now since 1st January 2016, the threshold has come down from 50kg to affect all business producing over 5kg food waste per week – that’s just a caddy! Using our expertise and contacts from our Food Waste Network, we understand the issues and enjoy encouraging collaboration. We held Waste Regs Roundtables in 2013 and 2015, and the resources sector find them invaluable as an open forum to discuss challenges and find practical solutions.

Our 2016 roundtable discussion takes place today in the Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Innovation, looking to build on the progress the previous discussions have made. Representatives from across the Scottish resources sector, including SEPA and Zero Waste Scotland, are set to attend.

Learn more about how the Scottish Waste Regulations affect you and your business – read our factsheet on our downloads page.

Have a look at our findings from 2015’s Waste Regs Roundtable discussion:

Scottish Waste Regs – 1 year on (90sec animation) from Vegware on Vimeo.

Scottish Waste Regs – 1 year on from Vegware on Vimeo.

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Vegware used to help demonstrate zero waste Christmas recipes!

Celebrity chef Tony Singh and Scotland’s Environment Secretary, Richard Lochhead, teamed up to offer diners on Edinburgh’s castle street some tasty tips on festive frugality.

The pair served delicious egg-noodle turkey broth and veggie curry in Vegware soup containers from a vintage green Citroen H food van.

These recipes were chosen to highlight the many ways leftovers can be used, as Christmas can lead to over 50,000 tonnes of food and drink being wasted!  Read on below for Tony’s recipes:

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New classroom resources – Bin Detective Primary Kit

Vegware has launched the Bin Detective, a cartoon character with an educational resource kit helping schools teach about recycling. The concept empowers students to become Bin Detectives and change behaviours at school and at home.

The Primary Kit, launched for autumn term 2015, includes an interactive classroom presentation, a poster, and teachers’ notes describing a range of activities. Created by Vegware’s in-house environmental team, based on their experience of communicating about zero waste, it is available for free at www.Vegware.com/downloads.

Bin Detective – classroom recycling activities from Vegware on Vimeo.

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Eilidh Brunton, Rising Star

Our group recyVegware_eco_packaging_Eilidh_rising_star_awardcling consultant, Eilidh Brunton, has been named resource Scotland’s Rising Star at the Scottish Resources Conference 2015! The award recognises her achievements in bringing together the waste sector through the efforts of the Food Waste Network. Eilidh has also been a global ambassador for the Scottish waste sector, including being invited to Las Vegas to speak about Scotland’s zero waste journey and food waste regulations at Waste Expo 2015. Eilidh says “I am delighted to have received the award, and really looking forward to continuing to guide businesses and communities on the road to zero waste”.

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Vegware’s guide to the 5p bag charge

England’s single use carrier bags charge came in to action yesterday, so we thought it would be useful to explain how it relates to sales of our products.

The law is mainly aimed at reducing the use of single use plastic carrier bags. All Vegware packaging is made from plants, not plastic, but compostable bags such as our bioplastic carrier are still subject to the charge. However, these can be taken home and reused as a liner for food waste caddies, so represent good value for the 5p spent!

Paper bags are not subject to the charge in England, so our recycled carrier bags are a great option. They’re made from recycled materials already, and can be easily recycled again after use.

Overall, we think the new legislation is great news! In Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland usage has dropped by up to 80%! Considering that in 2013 major supermarkets gave out 7.4 billion plastic bags, that’s a huge amount of plastic that might not end up as litter and make its way to the oceans.