Category Archives: environment

Leithers Don’t Litter

As we start 2018, we like to reflect on our favourite moments of 2017. At Vegware we enjoy supporting important environmental issues, and that includes littering. Throughout 2018 we’re planning a number of anti-litter initiatives and campaigns, so here’s some inspiration from our home city of Edinburgh.

Leithers Don’t Litter are a group who love their local area, Leith, and hate seeing litter. They organise regular clean ups and collaborate with a number of organisations to help make Leith a litter free zone.

Litter pickers deserve a warm pick-me-up, and last year, our Community Fund donated coffee cups to Leithers Don’t Litter for their Earth Day clean up.

On Earth Day, around 60 people came along and collected 70 bags of rubbish. On Edinburgh’s Marine Esplanade they collected a staggering 4-5 tonnes of rubbish!

We have been really enthused by the proactive community work led by Leithers Don’t Litter. We’ll be looking out for their events starting in March 2018, as well as running our own litter pick as part of Keep Britain Tidy. Watch this space!

‘Latte levy’ report is well intentioned, but industry proposals and initiatives will be more effective at tackling recycling.

  • Vegware welcomes the much-needed focus on recycling, but instead of charging consumers, Vegware supports reforms to have industry pay for recycling
  • State-of-the art cup recycling can be complemented through the use of compostable foodservice packaging; compostables can Close the Loop for all foodservice waste
  • Packaging company Vegware to expand Close the Loop composting collections

Vegware wholeheartedly supports any initiative that boosts recycling. The public and businesses are all eager for a solution. The UK Environmental Audit Committee has recommended a 25p ‘latte levy’ on any disposable coffee cup. Whilst the report raises many valid points about the challenges we face, we do not see a ‘latte levy’ as the most effective way forward. Vegware support’s the Foodservice Packaging Association’s response, ‘Why charge consumers 25 pence a cup when industry is willing to provide funding for recycling’. In addition, Vegware would like to highlight the opportunity that compostable packaging brings to recycling of all foodservice waste, not only cups.

In 2017 there were great strides in recycling used coffee cups by major chains and independents alike. Food contamination is cited in the report as a major issue. To complement cup and other dry recycling, industrial composting is a form of recycling with a major role to play here. If all disposables are compostable, all foodservice waste – the cup, lid, spoon and sandwich wedge, leftover crusts and mayo – can be composted together, and food contamination is no longer an issue.

Vegware takes its producer responsibility seriously, and offers expert environmental support to help foodservice clients recycle used Vegware and food waste. Launched initially in Scotland in 2017, Vegware’s Close the Loop service collects used compostables and food waste from Vegware clients, taking it for commercial composting. Now that we have a successful model to roll out, Vegware will be announcing good news in other areas of the UK in 2018.

To see a true shift in foodservice recycling and litter reduction, Vegware believes a comprehensive raft of improvements are needed to recycling systems and major public awareness campaigns. We welcome ambitious plans and are keen to drive innovation and collaboration in the packaging and recycling sectors.

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Vegware and marine plastic pollution

A spotlight has been shone on the damage humans are causing to our oceans. The Vegware team shares the public’s sadness at the devastating extent of marine pollution. The pitfalls of plastics have been laid bare, and everyone is looking for solutions. Whilst Vegware’s plant-based disposables are designed to replace oil-based plastics in a foodservice setting, compostable packaging is not the solution to marine pollution. Here’s why.

In summary:

  • Compostable packaging is not expected to break down in a marine environment
  • All waste needs to be disposed of properly, and we wholeheartedly support any initiative that boosts recycling and reduces littering
  • Vegware provides a category-wide solution for zero waste in a foodservice environment with managed waste streams

Compostable packaging and the marine environment

Vegware’s plant-based catering disposables are designed to break down in under 12 weeks in commercial composting. We hold independent compostability certification and have conducted extensive trials in organics recycling facilities. Successful composting requires warmth, oxygen, microbes and moisture – perfect conditions which are created at industrial composting facilities and in on-site composting systems.

The marine environment however is very different, and does not provide the right conditions for compostable packaging to break down. Vegware is against littering in any environment, on land or at sea. We have not tested our products in the sea, and our products do not solve the issue of marine pollution.

At Vegware, we play a positive, active role encouraging zero waste. Our environmental team helps our clients capture used packaging and set up recycling schemes, diverting used Vegware and food waste to commercial composting. We have many zero waste regions around the UK, and in Scotland we have set up Close the Loop, our own composting collection service.

We are pleased that sustainability is at the forefront of public debate, and fully support efforts to protect the environment. Please get in touch if you would like to discuss any of these important issues.

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Go plastic free with Vegware

Why do we make packaging from plants not plastic?

Renewable vs finite

First off, conventional plastic is made from oil, a finite resource. With oil running out, it seems sensible to use alternative materials made from renewable resources. Bioplastics are a smart modern solution, which can replace oil-based plastics and function perfectly.

Carbon

Producing oil-based plastics is more carbon-intensive than plant-based alternatives. We have worked with an independent carbon consultant to understand the embodied carbon in different packaging materials. For example:

  • Bagasse is the recycled sugarcane fibre we use to make clamshells. Bagasse has 99% less embodied carbon than polystyrene.
  • Our cups are lined with plant-based PLA, a material with 72% less embodied carbon than PE, the oil-based plastic which lines standard cups.

Our Eco Audits quantify the difference in embodied CO2 per kilo for materials used to create Vegware products compared with their conventional packaging equivalents.

So far in 2017, Vegware’s clients together have saved over 4,700 tonnes of carbon by switching to plants, not plastic. That’s like cancelling the carbon from 2,966 flights from London to New York.

Continue reading Go plastic free with Vegware

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 community fund recipient just cycle

Community Fund Focus: Just Cycle

This month’s Community Fund Focus is on Just Cycle – a Tweedbank-based charity which aims to  bring communities together and reduce landfill by recycling and upcycling old and broken bicycles.

Founded in 2014, the charity now has four directors. Fundraiser Alison Cameron tells us more about what the charity does:

“Our mission is to reduce inequalities, and encourage strong intergenerational relationships by involving all sectors of the community in our work. This includes recycling and re-using the bikes, and encouraging cycling among all sectors, including socially disadvantaged or isolated people.”

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Vegware responds: Parliament debate on banning non-compostable packaging

A recent petition was circulated which called the UK government to ban all non-recyclable and non-compostable packaging in the UK. Garnering over 75,000 signatures, it was selected for debate on 23rd January – if you missed it, you can catch up here or read the response.

Vegware welcomes debate and we were delighted to see the issue of recycling taking such a major platform. We would however like to see more leadership from government to create a roadmap to maximum recycling. We have no doubt manufacturers would respond to this with the innovation and flair that exists in the industry.

Our focus is foodservice where compostable packaging is the right solution. Other types of packaging need to be treated differently and we must recognise this as we devise the best way forward for each waste category.

The debate raised many valid and relevant points around the environmental contribution of effective packaging, for example in preventing food waste in the supply chain. There were also some familiar objections to compostable packaging raised which we would like to comment on.

Continue reading Vegware responds: Parliament debate on banning non-compostable packaging

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.

vegware community fund school food matters charity sustainability

Community Fund Focus: School Food Matters

This month’s Community Fund Focus is one of our newest recipients — School Food Matters, a food education charity based in London. Founded in 2007 with a mission to ensure that every child enjoys fresh, sustainable food at school, School Food Matters has been a Vegware Community Fund recipient since September 2016.

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Community Fund Focus: Scottish Waterways Trust

The Vegware Community Fund supports sustainability in its broadest sense, offering regular funding or product donations to charities and not-for-profit organisations from Ayrshire to the Amazon. This month’s Community Fund focus is on one of our regular recipients, the Scottish Waterways Trust.

The Scottish Waterways Trust is an independent charity which undertakes innovative canal-based projects for the benefit of local communities, promoting health, wellbeing and conservation of Scotland’s canals. The Trust was established in 2001, and in that time has helped over 136,151 people, investing more than £10 million into hundreds of projects.

Continue reading Community Fund Focus: Scottish Waterways Trust