Category Archives: media

RecycleBox – a new post-back service for Vegware

Vegware is joining forces with leading recycling company, First Mile, to provide a UK-wide end-of-life solution for its compostable foodservice disposables using RecycleBox, First Mile’s low cost, courier-led recycling service.

First Mile currently collects over 25 material streams in London and Birmingham, including Vegware’s compostable packaging, but has now introduced RecycleBox to provide a national solution for those items not collected by local councils and other waste companies.

This service is especially important for those items that require separate collections to be recycled effectively. Compostable packaging is a great example of this as it must be sent to a specialist facility to be organically recycled, and should not be put in mixed recycling.

Continue reading RecycleBox – a new post-back service for Vegware

Vegware’s European Warehouse – successful first 6 months

Our new European warehouse celebrates a successful first six months in operation. A partnership with the Raben Group, our Dutch warehouse is a central hub to better service mainland and Northern European clients. Our HQ is in Edinburgh; this new Eurozone logistics centre is part of the company’s Brexit-readiness. 

Located in Brabant, near the Dutch border with Germany and Belgium, the Raben location offers strong transport links throughout mainland Europe. This new warehouse joins  Vegware’s UK and US hubs already servicing Vegware clients in 70 countries worldwide.  

A third of Vegware’s sales are to outside the UK, with other European countries accounting for 87% of exports.  We had a 53% increase in sales from 2018 to 2019, with a 25% growth in European sales. “We’re delighted to be able to better support our clients with quick service, with many European customers getting orders straight from our Dutch hub,” says Mark Badzmirowski, Vegware’s Sales Manager Europe. “It’s given us the opportunity to grow sales and allay our clients’ Brexit concerns. We’ve seen an increase in opportunities and sales, with new customers pleased we have a warehouse in mainland Europe.”  

Continue reading Vegware’s European Warehouse – successful first 6 months

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.

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 genderWe’re proud to be actively driving change in foodservice recycling – find out more about our waste activism.

 

Vegware is exhibiting at HostMilano

Vegware will be visiting Milan to exhibit at HostMilano, the equipment, coffee and food show this autumn. The 41st International Hospitality Exhibition will take place at the Fieramilano exhibition and trade centre from 18th-22nd October 2019. Will you be there? Come say hello!
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HostMilano is the world leading trade fair dedicated to the world of catering and hospitality. Our EU Sales team will be showcasing Vegware’s plant-based compostable catering disposables to over 2,000 professionals in the foodservice industry. Attendees vary from coffee merchants and confectionary experts to professional caterers and pizza and pasta specialists.

Our team will be happy to sample their wares! Visit our stand (L24, Hall 9) to view samples from our range of over 300 plant-based, eco-friendly products including award-winning cutlery, hot and cold cups, tableware and takeaway containers.

We are looking forward to catching up with distributors and clients and meeting new customers!

For more information about the event, please see here. Ciao!

Trinidad and Tobago government ban Styrofoam packaging

Vegware welcomes news that the government of Trinidad and Tobago have approved a ban on polysterene foam products, such as Styrofoam, which will be implemented in 2019.

Banning Styrofoam imports

Planning and Development Minister Camille Robinson-Regis says the importation of ‘Styrofoam’ products into the country will be banned. Local polystyrene manufacturers have been given time to make their products environmentally friendly.

Building on change

This builds on action taken in Tobago, where the Tobago House Assembly (THA) passed a motion to phase out polystyrene foam products.

The THA is currently working with the Castara Tourism Association to make the idyllic holiday destination Castara the first Styrofoam-free village in the country.

The Caribbean island of Dominica also implements a ban on Styrofoam cups and containers in 2019, as well as on plastic plates, cups, cutlery and straws.

Packaging tax

THA official Linford Beckles suggested there was also a need to address the tax on imported packaging. He said while there are currently, “No taxes on Styrofoam products coming into Trinidad and Tobago,” there are taxes on, “Environmentally friendly alternatives.”

Beckles said the THA is looking at two alternatives to replace the Styrofoam, one is bagasse-based and the other is corn-based.

Vegetarian Pelau box from Aunty Cathy’s Kitchen, Freeport who already use Vegware packaging

How Vegware can help

Our tableware and takeaway boxes are made from bagasse, reclaimed sugarcane, and make an excellent eco alternative to  polysterene foam . Vegware already supply several catering outlets in Trinidad and Tobago. We look forward to working with more restaurants, cafes and on-site catering in the switch to eco-friendly polysterene foam alternatives.

Tweeting and meeting with Cabinet Ministers

A tweet from Uruguay

Yesterday Secretary of State for Scotland, David Mundell, visited our Edinburgh HQ to hear about our business, and our experiences of exporting to 70 countries. It all started with a tweet from Uruguay… Mr Mundell met our local partners there on a trade trip, where he tweeted a nice video about us from Montevideo.

“It was funny to hear from him across the globe, as our office is just a few doors down from his on Melville Street”, explains Lucy Frankel, our Communications Director. “We tweeted him an invitation to pop in, and we’re delighted he visited us today.”

Vegware in UK Parliament

Mr Mundell knows Vegware products from the Houses of Parliament, which chose Vegware to reduce plastic and start composting waste. As Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs of the United Kingdom, attested to on twitter this week.

Exporting to 70 countries

Mr Mundell congratulated Vegware for now exporting to 70 countries worldwide, and shared useful information on support to boost our export even further. Mr Mundell says,

“Vegware is a great sustainable business success story. Their plant-based disposable cups and cutlery are used by the House of Commons, hugely reducing the amount of plastic used on the Parliamentary estate. They are a fast-growing exporter, with a presence now in 70 countries around the world. I met their local team during a recent trade trip to Uruguay and, as near neighbours of the Office of the Secretary of State for Scotland Office in Edinburgh, I was very pleased to have the chance to visit the Vegware HQ today.”

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 resource 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.