Defra Resources and waste strategy announcement

You may have seen us on Sky News this morning (we’ll post a clip to the video when it’s available)!

Directors Joe and Lucy sorting products

We welcome today’s Defra Resources and waste strategy announcement – it’s a much-needed and ambitious set of policy goals, and we are pleased to see the Government recognise the role compostable materials can play in improving recycling and resource use. By 2025, all plastic packaging placed on the market should be recyclable, reusable or compostable.

By 2020, the central government estate will remove all single-use plastics; catering outlets at Westminster’s Parliamentary estate are one step ahead, already using and composting Vegware’s disposables, in conjunction with a range of measures to encourage reusable containers.

It’s great the Government plans to mandate food waste collections for householders and many businesses – this should bring England up to speed with the rest of the UK. The waste hierarchy on page 21 acknowledges that composting counts as recycling, and that anaerobic digestion is classed one step lower as ‘other recovery’. The UK’s in-vessel composting sector should be supported and developed as a practical solution to treat UK wastes, including certified compostable packaging. We welcome closer cooperation between anaerobic digestion and composting sectors, and see huge potential for composting as a practical solution for digestate and depackager run-off.

Extended Producer Responsibility, if the details are delivered correctly, can bring huge sustainability improvements to packaging and recycling. We already embed producer responsibility into our business. We have used 3,000 tonnes of recycled content in 2018, and our Environmental team has helped Vegware clients set up composting schemes since 2012. You can see our team’s most recent work on setting up composting solutions by clicking on these case studies: Platform at the Arches and University of the West of England.

The strategy calls out the important differences between ‘biodegradable’, ‘compostable’ and ‘oxo-degradable’ materials, and we will be contributing to Defra’s work to develop understanding in this area. All Vegware’s products meet existing international standards for compostability, EN13432 and ASTM D6400.