Season’s Greetings from Vegware!

Vegware’s 2019 festive cups are now available for pre-order only until Tuesday 1st October.  

This year’s hot cups feature are ever-popular knitted jumper design with a new featured animal – polar bears!

The Christmas cups are eco-friendly double wall hot cups made from sustainably-sourced board, and have a plant-based lining.

Available in 8, 12 & 16oz sizes for all your hot holiday drinks – from toffee-flavoured coffees and cinnamon spiced teas to warmed mulled apple ciders and hot chocolates topped with whipped cream.

Compostable lids are available to purchase separately – use our Series numbers to match your cup to the right lid.

Pre-order yours here today! Please note the cups are only available to pre-order until Tuesday 1st October. When placing your pre-order, please specify your requested delivery date. Our aim is to have all orders fulfilled by the end of November.

A portion of the sales will go towards Vegware’s Community Fund in December, so that we can support our global community even further this holiday season. More news to be shared later this year!

Introducing a new recycling system to a site

You’ve switched your site to Vegware and confirmed with our Environmental team that you’re in one of our composting regions where clients can access our approved collections. How do you ensure the transition all goes to plan?

Whether your site is a small independent café or large corporate site, introducing any new recycling system can have teething issues. It takes time for your site users – staff and visitors alike – to learn a new system. When the new waste stream is for compostable packaging & food waste, Vegware really wants to help our clients get it right. The last thing we all want is to send contamination to a compost facility. Our collective goal is always quality recycling.

The ‘Quality First’ method

For larger sites, Vegware’s Environmental team recommends clients use the ‘Quality First’ method – as these sites have large numbers of staff, visitors and catering outlets – making them more likely to have contamination during the initial transition.

This method means introducing the compostable products, new waste streams and signage – all of which Vegware supplies to our customers, while monitoring the contamination level closely, and only composting it when the behaviour change has been successful.

This allows sites to troubleshoot and address teething issues within any specific areas, teams or contaminants. This means that if the compostable waste is too contaminated, it will – and should – go to incineration during this transition phase. This eliminates concerns of the composting facility receiving compostables that are mixed in with non-recyclables such as plastic-lined coffee cups or non-compostable sandwich boxes. When incinerated, plant-based PLA releases no volatile gases, and produces more heat than newspaper, wood or food waste.

Once the behaviour change activities have been successful, as shown by waste audits, the good quality stream can then go to the composting facility.

Behaviour change is key

Essentially, behaviour change takes time and key steps must be in place to facilitate the introduction to a new way of recycling. But choosing the right bin – and getting it right – is vital for quality recycling across ALL waste streams.

What can you do to have your site be quick on the uptake for learning the new system? Follow our 5 Steps to Zero Waste to adopt a greener process to your site.

5 steps to zero waste

Click to view a case study from our client, Platform at Argyle Street Arches, to learn more about their experience in launching a new recycling system with Vegware.

Keen to introduce Vegware onto your site? Get in touch today: orders@vegware.co.uk +44(0) 333 055 400.

New film! Contract caterer Elior share why they chose Vegware

To contract caterer Elior sustainability is immensely important. They have a big responsibility to ensure their sites can operate in the most sustainable way possible. In this new film, Elior share their reasons for choosing Vegware catering disposables:

Responsible catering disposables

Elior’s Corporate Social Responsibility Manager, Charlotte Wright, says that, “Vegware gives us the option to have disposables in our business, without the concern of the damage on the environment as the result of the production of plastics.”

Minimising waste

Vegware’s products offer portion control for both the end-user and the kitchen staff, helping to minimise food waste. Andy Ferguson, Elior’s Contract Director, says “Switching to the Vegware cup enabled their client to take 1 million plastic lined cups out of the waste chain.”

Quality product

The Elior team are impressed by the range and quality of Vegware products. “It enhances the food that goes into it,” shares Steven Wells, General Manager, Elior.

Elior use Vegware’s Green Tree collection to highlight their commitment to sustainability. For samples, please contact us here.

We’ve added a new branch to our Green Tree collection – sandwich boxes

Our stylish new sandwich wedges and boxes are part of the premium Green Tree collection. Perfect for a hearty meal or sandwiches to go. The crisp white design carries our on-pack plant-based messaging and the eye-catching Green Tree motif. A clear identifier of a sustainable product.

Made from sustainably-sourced board and fully lined with renewable, plant-based PLA to keep sandwiches fresh for longer. The clear PLA front window and leaf-shaped cut-outs on the side offer extra visibility.

Pair with our Green Tree soup containers, napkins and hot & cold cups for a stylish combo meal with a unified look. See the full collection here.

Award-winning quality by Vegware, made from plants. Commercially compostable where accepted. Order yours here.

Join Vegware at the PAC-12 Sustainability Conference

Our Zero waste Director, Julia Wetstein, is speaking at the upcoming Pac-12 Sustainability Conference, 25-26 June at The University of Washington, Washington, USA. Julia will be presenting research, conducted by CMA and the University of Washington, on the benefits of utilising composting packaging to capture post-consumer waste.  Register for the conference today!

Julia will be discussing compostables on a panel alongside experts from the Composting Manufacturing Alliance (CMA) and University of California, Berkeley. Julia has over 20 years experience in composting, agriculture and implementing zero waste programs. In the Vegware team, she bridges the gap between the foodservice and composting worlds. We catch up with her before the conference:

Continue reading Join Vegware at the PAC-12 Sustainability Conference

Why soils matter

Soils and climate change

Poor soils fuel climate change. There is three times more carbon in the soil than in the atmosphere, and this carbon is released in land degradation.

Land degradation is the process by which the quality of the land is affected by human activity.  According the recent Global Assessment carried out by Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), land degradation is responsible for annual global emissions of up to 4.4 billion tonnes of CO2. It releases carbon stored in the soil and it effects the growth of plants, reducing their intake of carbon from the atmosphere.

IPBES’s Global Assessment states that, unless we reduce and reverse land degradation, it is projected that by 2050:

  • 50% of wild creatures will be lost,
  • human migration of people from the driest lands will rise,
  • and crop yields may reduce by up to 50% in some regions.

Addressing land degradation and climate change

The Paris Agreement on Climate Change targeted a long-term goal of keeping the increase in global average temperature to well below 2° above pre-industrial levels. Tackling land degradation could provide over 1/3 of the most cost-effective greenhouse gas mitigation activities needed by 2030 to achieve this goal.

Climate change and land degradation should be addressed together with similar urgency.

According to IPBES:

“Urgent action must be taken to halt, reduce and reverse land degradation. The longer we delay the more costly and difficult restoration becomes. The cost of inaction is at least three times higher than the cost of action. And the benefits of land restoration are many times more valuable than the costs.”

Toil for soil

Among other actions, Vegware believes we can take steps to reduce soil loss and improve soil health in crop lands. Composting used Vegware returns nutrients to the soil, and has the added benefit of improving soil structure, reducing the risk of floods. Now, over 1,200 UK postcode districts have access to a Vegware-approved trade waste composting collection. To learn more, see here.

Best of VIBES – Vote now!

We’re a ‘Best of VIBES’ finalist! We’re honoured to be recognised as one of Scotland’s leading Environmental businesses. View all the finalists and cast your vote here!

VIBES are the Scottish Environment Business Awards. We won the VIBES Awards in 2010 and 2013 for our fight against plastic waste – as noted by this week’s news story in The Scotsman.

Vegware are one of ten businesses shortlisted for the ‘Best of VIBES’, as part of VIBES 20th anniversary celebrations this year.

We’re delighted to be part of the VIBES celebrations in this way. It’s a wonderful recognition of our growth and continued commitment to producer responsibility.

Since our 2013 Vibes Awards win, we’ve grown our turnover four-fold. And with our own Close the Loop composting collection service, we’ve composted 182+ tonnes of used Vegware, the equivalent of 15 million coffee cups, since 2017. Cast your vote for Scotland’s best Environmental business here.

Vegware packaging now ‘Composter Approved’ by US Compost Manufacturing Alliance

Following successful trials, Vegware announces today it has received the Compost Manufacturing Alliance (CMA) approval on a wide range of its plant-based compostable foodservice packaging. These highly respected American standards provides official recognition and acceptance of the Vegware products as compostable by both CMA-I facilities and Cedar Grove’s covered processing system.

Testing compostables

The CMA and its affiliated partner, Cedar Grove Composting in Washington State, field testing results demonstrate that products manufactured by Vegware are acceptable in operations and processes.

The CMA is a partnership of the top U.S. compost manufacturers, providing field validation of compostable feed stocks within real world processing technologies. Cedar Grove Composting is a Seattle-based, family-owned business producing nutrient-rich compost.

As composting collections and processing grows in the US and globally, ensuring foodservice packaging works as feedstock in modern large-scale composting facilities is essential. This way, operations at each step of the organics recycling process runs smoothly.

Vegware approved

This official recognition allows access to the CMA “Composter Approved” logo. The “Composter Approved” logo signals nationwide processing opportunities to create quality compost from Vegware’s wide range of plant-based compostable foodservice packaging.

Continue reading Vegware packaging now ‘Composter Approved’ by US Compost Manufacturing Alliance

Paper recyclers say no to food and suggest limits for plastic, in new WRAP and CPI guidelines

Is your paper being recycled? Anything more than food staining on paper packaging is problematic for paper recycling, according to the new recycling guidelines from The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) and the Confederation of Paper Industries (CPI).

Vegware believes that compostables solve the issue of food contamination on catering disposables. Compostable packaging and food waste can be recycled together in industrial composting, leaving other dry recycling cleaner for processing.

Mixed materials challenge the recycling process

Conventional foodservice packaging is notoriously challenging to recycle as it is a combination of materials.

Any raw paper or board materials contaminated with food waste or other mixed materials can undermine the full benefits of recycling paper.

Food waste’s negative effect on recycling

The guide states that surface staining of packaging is processable, but leftovers or food attached to the packaging is unacceptable for recycling. Vegware’s experience in working with the waste sector is that both the packaging and food waste are then sent to waste disposal.

Vegware is aware that uncontaminated PET water bottles have an established recycling infrastructure, but a cardboard sandwich wedge with a plastic lining and window and contaminated with food waste doesn’t.

The plastic problem

Over 3-5% plastic contamination puts pressure on the process. For example, from Vegware’s work with foodservice, the windows in sandwich wedges and plastic linings in coffee cups are a considerable recycling issue.

A compostable solution?

Current catering disposables seem unsuitable for recycling. Instead, Vegware believes foodservice should look to consider compostable packaging.

Vegware uses a variety of renewable plant-based materials to manufacture our products – we use:

  • plant-based PLA for our clear windows, and to line our hot cups and soup containers
  • reclaimed sugarcane to make bagasse food containers
  • card and paper for our coffee cups and sandwich wedges
  • areca palm leaves for our tableware
  • NatureFlex – a clear compostable film made from wood pulp – for our salad box windows and bags
  • Vegetable and water-based inks for all our printing

Our full range also holds the deepest set of compostability certification.

This eliminates the complication of mixed materials. All our plant-based catering disposables can be composted together with food leftovers and baked-on goods, turning it into nutrient-rich compost for farmers’ fields. See UK regions with composting here.