Category Archives: case studies

New case study! Passionate café champions composting collections in Bristol, UK

Café Matariki is a small and passionate Bristol business producing delicious dishes made with locally-sourced ingredients. It’s also passionate about the environment and wants to limit its impact on the world.

The café has always used compostable plant-based packaging, and subscribed to Vegware’s Close the Loop composting collection service when it launched in the region in 2018.

As the next phase in its sustainable approach, the café has joined the Composting Collective, a bring-back scheme to capture Vegware takeaways packaging for composting.

The Composting Collective, “shows the community of Bristol working together to support one another and reduce our waste,” says Janice Heskett, Café Manager.

Read more about Café Matariki’s sustainable approach here.

Landmark event composts in Cardiff

For more than four decades, the Volvo Ocean Race has tested teamwork to the limit, and provided a human adventure like no other. The 2017-18 edition proved no different. Teams crossed four oceans and travelled 45,000 nautical miles around the world, touching six continents and 12 landmark Host Cities.

This included Cardiff – Wales’ sporting capital, and now, a historical sustainable stopover for the world-renowned event.

Vegware packaging at the Cardiff Race Village

There is heightened awareness around the limitations of plastic recycling and the growing problem of plastic pollution at a global level. The 2017-18 Volvo Ocean Race brought sustainability to the forefront, mandating a plastic-free environment across all Host Cities.

Cardiff Harbour Authority and the City of Cardiff Council embraced this sustainable mission for the Cardiff Race Village. The team immediately researched all the aspects of hosting a plastic-free event. The added challenge? A 14-day stopover, open to the public, with 180,000 attendees.

The Solution: Vegware’s fibre-based products and beyond packaging environmental support. We made education a top priority,  training the event team and working with them to inform the attendees.

Read more about the sustainable solution and result, hearing from Cardiff Harbour Authority’s Environmental Officer and Volvo Ocean Race’s Sustainability Programme Manager.

Composting Vegware disposables at the University of the West of England

A longtime client, the University of the West of England has been using our plant-based food service packaging as part of its Sustainability Plan for many years.

This year (2018), with our expansion into Bristol for Vegware’s Close the Loop composting collection service, the University is now turning its catering ‘waste’ into quality compost for Gloucestershire farmers.

Vegware catering disposables are commercially compostable with food waste. That means there’s no need for sorting, and the used compostable packaging – from cups and straws to takeaway boxes and cutlery – can all go together without removing the ketchup and leftover chips. An added bonus is that once food and disposables share one bin, other dry recycling bins are cleaner and easier to recycle.

With 30,000 students and 3,000 staff, closing the loop is making a difference to the University’s environmental footprint, while contributing to the circular economy.

The University’s Sustainable Projects Officer shares his thoughts here on implementing the new waste stream onto the site.

Vegware case study: Platform at Argyle Street Arches

Street food market solidifies sustainability by composting catering disposables

Argyle Street Arches is a historic venue in the atmospheric arches below Glasgow Central railway station. In 2018, the iconic site reopened to be given a new lease of life, and with it, a view to become the city’s greenest venue.

This includes offering Glaswegians a fiercely independent alternative to generic, mass produced foods by way of a new street food market: Platform at Argyle Street Arches. The indoor market brings together some of Scotland’s best independent street food traders every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, with food available to sit-in or to-go.

From the outset, Platform’s mission has been to offer produce that is locally and sustainably sourced, seasonal, free range, and free trade. To complement this, they sought eco-friendly food and drink packaging, knowing that food contamination is a barrier to recycling conventional plastic single-use containers.

Keen to ensure the best waste solution for their catering disposables, Platform contacted Edinburgh-based Vegware.

Click here to read more and see the 5 steps Platform and Vegware took to create a sustainable street food market.

Edinburgh Coffee Festival 2017 – The UK’s first compostable coffee festival

This year we teamed up with the 2017 Edinburgh Coffee Festival to help them deliver the UK’s first compostable coffee festival.

Our Close the Loop collection service enabled the festival to use only sustainable compostable coffee cups throughout the event. Close the Loop ensured these cups were collected alongside food waste for composting.

As well as hearing from the festival itself, we spoke to some of our customers to see why they value using Vegware products.

Here’s more on how we got on and why coffee cup recycling is so important.

On-site composting at Dundee and Angus College

For Dundee and Angus College in Scotland, on-site composting provided an ideal solution for them to take control of their food waste, reducing packaging in canteens, and move away from plastics in food service. 

The first thing the College needed was a packaging supplier that could offer a sustainable, compostable solution to aid their on-site composting ambitions.

Why Vegware?

Vegware’s packaging is made from plants, not plastic, and designed to be composted with food waste.  

On choosing Vegware as a sustainable packing supplier, Jackie Beresford at Dundee and Angus College commented:

The quality of the product along with the very good customer service is the reason why we use Vegware and continue to do so.”

Because Vegware’s products are compostable, they can be combined with food waste and processed in Dundee and Angus College’s own composter.

With help from food waste experts, Tidy Planet, the college operates an on-site composter called The Rocket Composter. The Rocket speeds up composting by providing it with a perfect environment in which to thrive; moisture, heat and air is all controlled. 

Dundee and Angus College

How it works

Vegware worked with Dundee and Angus College to create bespoke bin signage in the canteens to reduce contamination. All compostable packaging and food waste goes into one bin – there’s no need to clean, sort or separate any of it.

Food waste and Vegware is gathered, shredded and de-watered together in a macerator. From here on it is combined with other green waste and woodchips inside The Rocket composter. In as little as 14 days the gardeners at Dundee and Angus College have access to a high-quality mulch they can use on the College garden.

Dundee and Angus College

Savings in carbon and cost

The process saves money and carbon, and is easy to manage. It’s a great circular approach that takes place on the same site from start to finish. Coffee cups, coffee grinds and food waste can realistically be handled by the gardeners as a mulch on the ground in 14 days’ time. The system has a 20-year life span, but equipment of this scale can often pay for itself in less than five years. 

Collecting waste and sending it to landfill, a recycling plant or a composting facility can take several trips based on how much waste a business accumulates. By composting on-site, Dundee and Angus College saves both money and carbon. Hugh Crampton from Tidy Planet explains:

“By doing something like this, instantly you’ve reduced two or three vehicles movements per week for the collection of those wastes. If you add that mileage up for a collection vehicle for 20 years and that’s a whole lot of carbon emissions you’ve just avoided.”

Dundee and Angus College

Get in touch if you’d like to discuss on-site composting systems.

River Cottage Spring Food Fair 2017

River Cottage Spring Food Fair

We were lucky enough to visit River Cottage’s Spring Food Fair for the second year running. Working alongside Vegware last year, River Cottage achieved a 72% recycling rate by serving all food on compostable packaging. With UK events averaging around 15% for recycling, our Vegware team went to River Cottage with the intention of building further on last year’s success.

River Cottage Spring Food Fair

Vegware’s packaging is made from plants, not plastic, and it’s designed to be recycled with food waste. This means food doesn’t need to be separated from its packaging as it can all be recycled together. This is something our Vegware team wanted to communicate to everyone attending the event.

River Cottage Spring Fair Festival

Vegware’s team oversaw River Cottage’s recycling and made sure contamination was kept to a minimum through our clear bin signage, posters and engagement with visitors and stall holders throughout the event site. As well as this, our team were on hand to answer any general questions attendees had about how to recycle their Vegware. We thoroughly enjoyed our long weekend at River Cottage Spring Food Fair and we’re looking forward to seeing our Vegware waste returning to River Cottage as fresh compost.

River Cottage Spring Food Fair

Vegware eco compostable packaging university of cambridge

New film! University of Cambridge go compostable with Vegware

Two years ago, the University of Cambridge decided to make their catering more sustainable. Now, every month, they save 1.5 tonnes of carbon and recycle all of their food waste and packaging.

How? By switching to Vegware’s compostable packaging, creating clear bin signage, training catering staff and engaging students.

Find out more in our latest film!

Let us know what you think @vegware.

Customer Focus: Pumpkin Brown & plant-based food

Pumpkin Brown opened its doors to Edinburgh in Summer this year. Serving up plant-based organic food, free from wheat, dairy or refined sugar, the cafe was born out of a passion for good, healthy food on the go.

Amanda Brown founded the cafe and decided which packaging to use early on. She explains, “From the very beginning we wanted to use Vegware, it was a non-negotiable. It aligns with our brand ethos which is very important to us.”

vegware eco packaging plant based edinburgh pumpkin brown coffee

Pumpkin Brown enjoy getting creative with their food, promoting healthy eating that looks and tastes great. From colourful chia pots, to vibrant matcha lattes, to fresh healthy salads, the cafe uses a wide range of Vegware with most of the food pre-packaged so customers can grab and go. Amanda explains, “We think plant-based food served in plant-based containers is surely a great match! The Vegware range is great, there is tons of choice and it’s easily branded. We love it in our fridge.”

Despite only being open for four months, the cafe has been so popular that Amanda is now looking for a second location in Edinburgh. She explains how Vegware is an important part of their popularity: “Our customers love that we use Vegware – in fact they virtually demand it! A lot of them simply wouldn’t buy our food if we served it in non-compostable packaging as they feel so strongly about the over use of plastic today.”

vegware eco packaging plant based edinburgh pumpkin brown

Fancy seeing more of their amazing food? Check out our new Green Tree collection film, all of which was filmed at Pumpkin Brown. And don’t forget to check out their Instagram for some serious food envy.

Deliciously Ella loves Vegware eco packaging

Deliciously Ella (otherwise known as Ella Mills) is the powerhouse behind three bestselling cookbooks, a world-famous food blog and an Instagram feed that would put your lunch to shame.

On a mission to create a home for her healthy eating ethos, Ella opened the Mae Deli in December 2015 with her husband, Matthew. The Deli is a cosy clean-eating haven, specialising in the tasty plant-based food Ella is famous for.

The Mae Deli has been using Vegware’s eco packaging since it opened. We caught up with Ella to find out why she decided to use Vegware and what exciting plans the Deli has in store.

Why was choosing compostable packaging for the Mae Deli important to you?

The Mae Deli by Deliciously Ella was started by my husband Matthew and I and our aim is to create delicious natural food, but always in a socially and environmentally responsible way. We focus on building a company that our team members and customers can be proud of. This means using only compostable and recyclable packaging, paying the London living wage and above to all of our team members, and bringing total transparency to everything we do; which includes sharing the recipes to our products.

What kind of responses have you had from your customers regarding the packaging?

Our customers are so pleased when we tell them that we use Vegware’s compostable packaging! We often get so many complaints saying that it’s a shame that we use so much plastic, so when we are able to tell our customers that is actually made out of plant based materials they are so happy. It’s such a great concept and we love that we are able to spread the word and educate people who don’t know what Vegware is.

Have you noticed any difference between plastic packaging and Vegware in terms of quality or how easy it is to use? 

Completely! You may think that since it’s made from plant based material that the quality would be compromised, but it’s actually the total opposite. We find that the Vegware packaging is much more sturdy, durable, and you have perfected the art of sealing the material tightly – which is so important. No one wants salad dressing running through their bag!

What seasonal food trends are you excited about for autumn? 

I love eating seasonally and find that come autumn I start craving heartier warming dishes. We have two new dishes at the deli that I am so excited to be launching soon. One is a five-bean chilli with warming hints of cumin and the other is a black rice dish with amazing autumn veggies like butternut squash and Brussel sprouts. And while I admittedly eat sweet potato all year around autumn gives the perfect excuse for feeling less guilty by doing so.

Our menu is based around vibrant and delicious salads so having packaging that protects and holds the dishes intact is so important and your product does this so well!

vegware eco packaging deliciously ella mae deli compostable

Deliciously Ella recently launched an energy ball line, a skincare range with Neal’s Yard and a new smoothie recipe book. Find out more at deliciouslyella.com