Garden waste composting facilities across the UK are now officially allowed to process Vegware’s certified compostable hot and cold cups and lids, if milk and cream are the only animal by-products present. This DOESN’T mean that Vegware cups can go in garden waste bins starting today – it means the facilities are now officially allowed to consider processing it, which is the first step.
It’s not possible without independent certification, but all Vegware’s cups and lids have valid compostability certificates.
Now we can start working through our environmental due diligence programme with the composting facilities and waste collectors. We will announce good news region by region, wherever businesses and householders can start putting Vegware cups and lids in their garden waste bins.
This was a Vegware initiative together with REA’s Organics Recycling Group, approved by the Animal and Plant Health Agency, Environment Agency and Scottish Environment Protection Agency.
With well over 100 open windrow composting facilities around the UK, this news dramatically increases the number of facilities allowed to process compostable drinks waste. It adds to the existing 53 in-vessel composting (IVC) facilities licensed to process food waste, over a third of which already accept Vegware’s compostable packaging.
This is a game changer for Vegware’s compostables, expanding composting opportunities for our numerous clients who only serve drinks. We’re growing the UK’s circular economy – disposables made from plants, composted here in the UK, creating compost to feed British fields.
Composting methods & used Vegware packaging
|TYPE OF FACILITY||FOOD WASTE RECYCLING FACILITIES||GARDEN WASTE COMPOSTING FACILITIES|
|PROCESS||In-vessel composting (IVC) and some anaerobic digestion (AD) facilities with a composting phase
|Open windrow composting (OAW)
|SUITABLE PRODUCTS BY VEGWARE||· Vegware’s full range of plant-based compostable foodservice disposables||· All Vegware hot cups – single wall, double wall
· All CPLA hot cup lids
· Clear PLA cold cups and lids
· PLA-lined paper cold cups
· Wooden stirrers (pure untreated wood, so no certification required)
Vegware’s compostability certificates for these products are available on request
|CLIENT USAGE||Any food or drink, including animal by-products such as eggs, meat or bones||Strictly DRINKS ONLY, with MILK or CREAM as the ONLY animal by-products|
|COLLECTED IN||Vegware’s range of certified home compostable biobags|
|OTHER ALLOWABLE WASTES||· Used coffee grounds and loose-leaf tea
· Tea bags and coffee capsules with a valid compostability certificate
· Garden waste can be processed at all composting facilities
CERTIFIED compostable cups & lids
This news shows how important compostability certification is. We think it’s vital to prove our products are compostable, especially where we use any plastic-looking materials such as PLA. We have the deepest set of compostability certification in our sector – it’s a major investment for us, but so important. And our independent certification means all Vegware’s hot and cold cups and lids get the governmental go-ahead for open windrow composting.
Our stirrers are pure untreated wood, which are also allowable in open windrow composting. The new advice also allows used coffee grounds and loose-leaf tea. Tea bags and coffee capsules are only allowable if they hold a valid compostability certificate.
Collaborating with composters
We set up our Environmental team in 2012, led by Group Recycling Consultant Eilidh Brunton. She and two Recycling Advisors work closely with the waste sector, increasing clients’ access to commercial composting and helping foodservice clients minimise contamination. Eilidh explains how the garden waste composting idea came about:
“In the US, Vegware is composted in open windrow facilities, and the Isle of Man’s DEFA has recently approved Vegware’s compostable drinks-only waste for open windrow. We discussed this with the Organics Recycling Group, who explored the detail with the government agencies. We are delighted to have official approval, as this opens up new opportunities for Vegware’s hot cups, cold cups, lids and stirrers all to be composted together with garden waste here in the UK.
“We already have sites keen to start a trial, and now we have the green light to start working through our due diligence process with these facilities. We expect that soon, UK householders and businesses in many regions will be able to put our compostable cups and lids in their garden waste bins.”
We work closely with REA’s Organics Recycling Group, the association which represents composters. Jeremy Jacobs, REA’s Technical Director, said:
“Every year 300 million tonnes of new plastic are produced, so ensuring as much as possible is recycled and reused is an urgent and critical issue if we want to tackle plastic pollution in our soils, rivers and seas. Many plastics are durable and can take 600 years to break down. Avoiding plastic through the use of compostable packaging where possible is clearly to be welcomed.
“We have worked closely with Vegware to bring about this change; their willingness to collaborate closely with the waste sector on compostability issues makes them an exemplar organisation in partnership working.
Charlie Trousdell, Chairman of REA’s Organics Recycling Group, the UK composting industry association, added:
“Vegware has worked closely on this with REA’s Organics Recycling Group. Their due diligence around compostability, certification and their efforts to ensure minimal contamination is an excellent example – demonstrating that making compostable packaging work takes more than simply selling packaging.”
Composting – regional, but growing
Commercial composting collections are not yet available in all UK regions, but Vegware is actively increasing coverage. Many waste collectors around the UK have an existing collection route taking used Vegware for composting with food waste. To help more clients access commercial composting, Vegware has launched its own collection, Close the Loop. This service is already in Scotland, Bristol, Gloucester and Worcester, with further expansion in development. In addition, some on-site composters are able to process used Vegware with food waste, which suits clients with outdoor space and a need for compost.
Vegware’s Environmental team also offer composting clients full support to minimise contamination, including effective bespoke bin signage, staff training and a range of communications tools to encourage correct recycling. This is vital to avoid sending contaminated waste to composting facilities.
Clear on-product labelling – the Green Leaf band
We want to help consumers recycle correctly. That’s why we’re phasing in our new Green Leaf band design, as a clear visual cue for compostability. The design can also be used on posters and bin signage to assist with behaviour change and enable easy recycling. It has been welcomed by the waste sector, and even won best packaging innovation at the Footprint Awards this year for providing clarity aiming to reduce contamination.
Our Green Tree collection is also popular for its bold environmental messaging in a tree word cloud design, available on a wide range of packaging items.
Drinks-only vs food waste – why is it important?
In the UK, food waste is only allowed to be processed at in-vessel composting or anaerobic digestion facilities. These processes reach 60-70ºC, killing any pathogens which may be present from meat or bones. These UK animal by-product regulations (ABPR) came into force after the UK’s Foot and Mouth outbreak, to ensure that the resulting fertiliser is safe to be spread on fields. The rules are different elsewhere:
- In 2018, the Isle of Man’s DEFA approved Vegware’s compostable drinks-only waste for open windrow.
- In the US, used Vegware is composted with food waste in open windrow facilities.
UK garden waste composting facilities are not suitable for processing animal by-products, but milk residues are now allowable on certified compostable drinks waste. The compostable cups and lids MUST hold a valid compostability certificate from an independent certification body. Vegware holds this certification for these products, available on request.
Vegware’s certified compostable drinks range
- Vegware’s single wall hot cups are certified compostable by Din Certco to EN 13432, registration 7P0587, valid until 31st January 2020.
- Vegware’s double wall hot cups are certified compostable by OK Compost TÜV Austria to EN 13432, certificate number TA8011702465, valid until 29th November 2022.
- Vegware’s white CPLA hot cup lids are certified compostable by BPI to ASTM D6400, certificate number 2122186-12, valid until 31st March 2019.
- Vegware’s black CPLA hot cup lids are certified compostable by BPI to ASTM D6400, certificate number 2122186-11, valid until 31st March 2019.
- Vegware’s PLA cold cups and lids are certified compostable by BPI to ASTM D6400, certificate number 2122186-1, valid until 28th February 2019.
- Vegware’s PLA-lined paper cold cups (launching in winter 2018-19) are certified compostable by Din Certco to EN 13432, registration 7P0587, valid until 31st January 2020.
- For collecting compostable waste, Vegware’s biobags are certified home compostable by Vinçotte OK Compost HOME to EN 13432, certificate number O 16-1821-A, valid until 9th February 2021.
- Vegware’s wooden stirrers are made of pure untreated wood, so compostability certification is not needed.
- Vegware does not yet hold compostability certification for card cup clutches, so these products are not allowed into open windrow composting. If clean and dry, they are suitable for card recycling.
For further technical information, see the news via REA’s Organics Recycling Group.