Guardian Vegware growth business compostable

Today’s Guardian news: 53% growth in one year

Our CEO is interviewed in today’s Guardian. If you’re finding us for the first time, well hello. Here’s a bit more background info.

  • We make plant-based foodservice disposables from lower carbon, renewable or recycled materials.
  • Even with a major shift to reusables, some disposables will be needed. Our entire range is commercially compostable, and we have a dedicated Environmental team who help clients set up composting schemes. Here’s our composting FAQ.

Our business story

  • We are an Edinburgh-based exporting SME whose sales have grown 53% in one year, to £30.7M in 2018/19 from £20M last year (and from £6.9M turnover in 2013/14). We have experienced exceptional growth during 2018 due to 2018’s huge public demand for alternatives to conventional plastics.
  • Export has grown a third for us this last year, now accounting for a third of our sales. We sell to 70 countries worldwide.
  • This last year, our team has grown from 51 to 75 (in staff numbers, not in age…)!
  • Our board has an unusual gender balance – our CEO is the only male, with five female Directors.

Vegware board of Directors female gender

Our waste activism

  • In 2012, when our Environmental team started forging links with the waste sector, compostable packaging was only accepted in commercial waste collections in 2% of UK postcode districts.
  • At the start of 2019, our proactive work (now with three Recycling Advisors) had driven that 2% up to 25%. It’s now at 38% – and growing all the time. That means that in 38% of UK postcodes, our clients can have their used Vegware collected by a trade waste collection which is passing through their area on a regular basis – full list below.
  • Where there isn’t yet a regular collection, there are still composting options for used Vegware. We work with clients and local trade waste operators to set up new routes to composting – that’s how our coverage grows. There are also on-site composting machines which can work with our products.
  • If you don’t have access to suitable composting, please put used Vegware in general waste. The benefits of choosing lower carbon, renewable or recycled materials apply no matter what happens to them after use. Incineration studies from NatureWorks show that their plant-based PLA produces more heat than newspaper, wood or food waste; also that it produces no volatile gases and leaves little residue. In landfill, studies show that compostable packaging is inert and does not give off methane.