Category Archives: all news

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.

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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.

Serving sustainable scoops at The Ice Box

The Ice Box has been a Brooklyn, Connecticut, USA, institution for over 40 years. The ice cream parlor opened in 1978 in a renovated gas station, where it’s still located to this day. They use Vegware as part of their sustainability plan – read the full story here.

Loaded milkshakes at The Ice Box, Connecticut

Local resident Jenn Nemeth landed her first job at The Ice Box in 1998. In 2018, 20 years after joining the team, Jenn went from employee to owner, purchasing The Ice Box and making her own sweet sustainable switch to its operations. One of her first business decisions, was to use Vegware.

Continue reading Serving sustainable scoops at The Ice Box

Defra Want YOUR Views – Should Compostables Become Part of Mainstream UK Waste Collections?

Now here is a huge opportunity. Do you believe compostables have a role to play?

The UK Government is about to completely overhaul our waste systems, and are seeking YOUR views.

This is your chance to tell Defra, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, if you want to see compostables become part of mainstream UK waste collections, and see the Government encouraging the use of renewable, plant-based materials.

We don’t think it’s okay to carry on relying on export to deal with the UK’s contaminated low-grade packaging waste. We have composting facilities here in the UK, but just need to develop our collection infrastructure.

Continue reading Defra Want YOUR Views – Should Compostables Become Part of Mainstream UK Waste Collections?

The EU Single Use Plastics Directive

What is it?

New far-reaching EU guidance aimed at reducing plastic marine pollution. It is based on the 10 single-use plastic items and fishing gear which account for 70% of marine litter in Europe.

“The European Strategy for Plastics is a step towards establishing a circular economy in which the design and production of plastics and plastic products fully respect re-use, repair and recycling needs and in which more sustainable materials are developed and promoted.”

 

What is going to be banned?

  • OXO-DEGRADABLE PLASTICS. Common in cold cups, cutlery, straws, and carrier bags, and often labelled ‘degradable’ or mis-sold as ‘biodegradable’. These are conventional plastics with an additive to make it fragment into small flakes, but are not suitable for recycling or composting.
  • EXPANDED POLYSTYRENE food and drink containers – also known as Styrofoam. Very common material in cups, clamshells, plates and bowls.
  • All PLASTIC CUTLERY, PLATES, STIRRERS and STRAWS. That includes plant-based and compostable plastics, as the Directive is based on how materials behave in the marine environment. Compostable packaging breaks down in commercial composting conditions which provide a perfect balance of microbes, moisture and warmth; these are different conditions to the sea.

When does it come into force?

2021 at the earliest, with different deadlines to achieve various goals. Agreed upon in 2019, EU member states have two years to put the legislation into their own national laws. The UK has signalled it may mirror the EU’s actions, regardless of Brexit.

Continue reading The EU Single Use Plastics Directive

Stay stylish on the go with our newly designed compostable carrier bag

Say hello to our newly designed compostable carrier bag! Perfect for carrying groceries, food to go and suitable for hot takeaway containers. Or use for eco gifts, where your customers can reuse the bag at home as a food waste liner.

An updated, stylish design with strong eco messaging to showcase your commitment to sustainability. ‘Plants not plastic’ Vegware print in green on white and ‘Reuse me – first for shopping, then as a food waste caddy liner’. Plus, a handy on-pack barcode for retail.

Made from compostable plant-based PLA. Award-winning quality by Vegware, made from plants, not plastic. Commercially compostable where accepted. Fill your bags! Order yours here.

Gone with the Windrow: an independent cinema inspires a cup composting solution

Wells Film Centre is a three-screen independent cinema in Somerset, the South West of England. Serving refreshments is an enjoyable part of the customer experience, as well as a vital income stream for the cinema. Wells Film Centre has been serving hot and cold drinks using Vegware’s compostable cups and lids since May 2018 – read the full story here.

Cinema owner Sally Cooper was determined to compost the drinks waste. She was disappointed to hear from Vegware’s Environmental team that, as yet, there were no regular collections covering her area.

Vegware’s Green Britain double wall cups

Composting Vegware cups with garden waste

Until now, all UK catering waste had to go to one of two processes: in-vessel composting (IVC) or anaerobic digestion (AD). There are around 50 in-vessel composting (IVC) facilities, over a third of which accept used Vegware.

Happily, for Wells Film Centre and many businesses only serving drinks, not food, Vegware was working behind the scenes on a project which would open dialogue with 150+ extra composting sites, including one in Sally’s area. In July 2018, we gained official approval for the UK’s open windrow facilities to consider processing certified compostable hot and cold cups and cup lids.

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