Category Archives: media

Plastics out of Parliament: how we support Westminster’s waste initiative

Organics Recycling magazine reports on the many measures the Houses of Parliament have introduced to reduce their waste, including Vegware’s catering disposables and a new composting scheme.

When it came to using Vegware, the UK parliament had ‘remarkable consensus’, states the article. “Both houses were extremely keen,” noted Glenn Fleetwood, Parliament’s Environmental Compliance Manager, “and impressed by…Vegware and its range of products.” The plant-based disposables have been procured through the Parliament’s longstanding supplier, WK Thomas.

Vegware fits in with their zero waste to landfill policy. Now, used Vegware from the many catering outlets is composted at an in-vessel composting facility. We’re proud to help the UK Parliament work towards their 2021 target of 75% recycling.

A key part in the scheme is strong communication between departments, as well as consistent and clear visuals across the Parliamentary Estate. Vegware has been working closely with the Estates team to help create posters and till talkers for the canteen, educating consumers about the new compostable packaging and which bin to use.

Read more here.

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 rsource 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.

‘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.

vegware eco packaging compostable plants scottish business awards 2016

We’ve been shortlisted for the Scottish Business Awards!

It’s time to get the glad rags on again! Vegware are delighted to announce that we’ve been shortlisted for the Green Business of the Year at the Scottish Business Awards.

The award ceremony, taking place on the 17th November, features Academy Award winning actor, producer and environmental activist Leonardo DiCaprio as the keynote speaker.

The award “recognises the businesses which have shown outstanding leadership in achieving environmental goals alongside its business objectives”. We’ve been nominated for our innovative solution to zero waste in foodservice – using only compostable packaging, and recycling it with food waste.

Keep your fingers crossed for us!

Vegware wins 2nd Queens’ Award for unique zero waste support – our 60th award!

We’re delighted to announce that we’ve won our second Queen’s Award for Enterprise.

To make matters even more exciting, it’s our 60th accolade – and it’s awarded on the Queen’s 90th birthday in her 50th award year. First winning in 2013 for Sustainable Development, the latest award is in recognition of the innovative work Vegware is doing to help businesses recycle used packaging and food waste. We’re celebrating with our new film, and by launching our Green Tree collection. Our MD Joe Frankel says:

“Winning the Queen’s Award again is a huge honour. The journey has been fantastic – when we started, the only option for used takeaway packaging was to go to landfill or incineration, as most still does.

But we changed that by creating the widest range of genuinely compostable plastic-free catering disposables, and simultaneously working closely with the waste sector to ensure recycling options for clients all around the UK. With the current appetite for recycling, we are soon announcing a crowdsourcing campaign to create additional composting routes. We are proud to be a sustainability leader in foodservice.”

Thank you to all of our wonderful customers for their ongoing support – we hope you can join us in celebrating this award win.

Continue reading Vegware wins 2nd Queens’ Award for unique zero waste support – our 60th award!

Hugh's war on waste wastenot cup recycling compostable

New film! #wastenot: the compostable solution to coffee cup recycling

Here’s our new animation – watch and share to help us spread the message far and wide.

There’s been a lot of talk in the news recently on the problem of coffee cup recycling. Hugh’s War on Waste reported the shocking statistic that less than 1 in 400 cups in the UK are recycled, despite many claiming to be recyclable. That’s a big problem when  more than 7 million a day are used, with the vast majority ending up in landfill or incineration. And it’s not just cups – the same applies to a lot of the takeaway packaging we use every day. Continue reading New film! #wastenot: the compostable solution to coffee cup recycling

Cup recycling and Hugh’s War on Waste – the Vegware view

This week, everyone has suddenly realised that conventional plastic-lined cups are rarely recycled – something we’ve known for a long time. Hugh’s War on Waste has done an excellent job of highlighting the challenges of recycling conventional foodservice packaging. This is a problem that Vegware solves.

“The truth is,” says Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, ”they are barely recyclable at all – in the everyday, commonly understood sense of the word. They cannot be recycled through any of the normal public waste collection services – who are consistently diverting them to be incinerated or sent to landfill.

Hugh’s War on Waste focused on coffee cups (as did the Guardian, the Daily Mail, Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine show and more). But it’s about more than just cups – it’s the same issue for all takeaway packaging. 

Vegware_concept_sandwiches_VWSWT_sandwich_1508_800x
Conventional packaging uses various materials with mixed recycling streams, but compostable packaging is designed for food waste recycling

Conventional takeaway packaging uses a mix of materials (plastic, card, films, metals). Conventional coffee cups are lined with plastic, and sandwich boxes are card with a plastic window. Separately, plastic and card are easy to recycle. But combined, the card contaminates the plastics recycling and the plastic contaminates the card recycling. Then in use, add in the food inevitable residues. The result is a recycling problem – the reason why most UK foodservice packaging goes to landfill or incineration.

Continue reading Cup recycling and Hugh’s War on Waste – the Vegware view

Big Issue Change Please Vegware compostable cup coffee

Change Please! Big Issue to use Vegware coffee cups

We’re delighted to announce that we’ll be working with The Big Issue and Old Spike Roastery on their exciting new project, Change Please.

If you didn’t catch it on Famous, Rich and Homeless (BBC1) last night, Change Please is a groundbreaking new project training homeless people as baristas before offering the living wage for their work at pop-up coffee carts on the high street. The project also aims to find them full-timeVegware Big Issue Change Please cups coffee compostable employment in the coffee industry within six months.

With sustainability and social-consciousness at the core of the project, it’s no surprise that Change Please have chosen Vegware cups. Made from renewable materials, with 72% less carbon in our plant-based cup lining than conventional coffee cups, the cups and their matching compostable lids ensure that Change Please can deliver their project in the most environmentally friendly way possible.

Keep an eye out for their eye-catching cups at a coffee cart near you, and be sure to tweet @ChangePlease and @Vegware.

Scotland’s 5th fastest growing SME, and a place in the Sunday Times Fast Track 100!

Vegware has been ranked amongst the UK’s fast growing businesses in The Sunday Times Virgin Fast Track 100. We have grown by 57% a year over 3 years and staff numbers rose from 9 to 41 during this time. This means we are invited to Sir Richard Branson’s Oxfordshire home for the Fast Track 100 awards dinner!

Deloitte also placed us in the 2015 Technology EMEA (Europe, Middle East & Africa) Fast 500, cementing our place as one of the fastest growing businesses around!

Managing Director Joe Frankel is delighted with the progress, saying: “It has been a fantastic journey. When we started, sustainability was a niche concern. Now Vegware’s eco catering disposables are used at 50% of the UK’s universities, swathes of Canary Wharf, and at corporate restaurants and artisan cafes all around the UK. We are active in five continents, and have won over 50 awards. Product innovation is one key factor to our continuing growth – such as our new colourful Tasting Notes collection, and our innovative Gourmet Range for hot food to go. But the real key to our success has been our proactive team. We are proud to be the leaders of our field, and our growth trajectory proves that we have taken sustainability mainstream.”

Vegware used to help demonstrate zero waste Christmas recipes!

Celebrity chef Tony Singh and Scotland’s Environment Secretary, Richard Lochhead, teamed up to offer diners on Edinburgh’s castle street some tasty tips on festive frugality.

The pair served delicious egg-noodle turkey broth and veggie curry in Vegware soup containers from a vintage green Citroen H food van.

These recipes were chosen to highlight the many ways leftovers can be used, as Christmas can lead to over 50,000 tonnes of food and drink being wasted!  Read on below for Tony’s recipes:

Continue reading Vegware used to help demonstrate zero waste Christmas recipes!