Paper Round installs compostables-specific sorting line in Essex facility

A new sorting line for Vegware compostable catering disposables has been installed by waste management partner Paper Round in its Essex facility.

Paper Round claims that the new line will allow Vegware to expand the amount of compostable waste it can process and improve the quality of the output material.

Vegware compostable cupVegware produces plant-based and compostable takeaway packaging, such as cups, cutlery and containers.

Food contamination often prevents conventional packaging from being properly recycled, but Vegware processes food residue to be turned into compost.

While testing out the new system for the recycling of Vegware, Paper Round discovered that having a process for checking the quality of compostable material gathered was key for the longevity of the service – as a result of the strict contamination criteria at composting sites.

The disposables will be collected in London, Brighton and Sussex and put in a sorting line that uses a belt configuration, bin lifts and a compactor, with sorting stations for trained pickers to keep an eye out for non-target items, such as conventional plastics or cans.

These contaminants will be taken from the compostable stream and put in the correct place for recycling using existing Materials Recycling Facility (MRF) processing.

Screening material will also help notice patterns in specific service users with high levels of contamination, so they can be highlighted to companies that need to improve customer engagement in recycling. 

Collected separately, the Vegware compostables stream is taken to in-vessel composting facility enVar, where they are processed within seven weeks into compost compliant with the PAS 100 quality specification. This compost is then used to fertilise local farmland.

This comes as part of the scaling up of the Vegware compostables service launched in May last year, after Vegware reported growth of 43 per cent in total sales to January 2020.
The system has been funded with support from the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) Small Scale Non-Household Municipal Business Waste grant programme. WRAP administers the fund on behalf of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

Bill Swan, Managing Director at Paper Round, said: “This investment reaffirms our company commitment to providing the industry with better quality recyclables and can give our customers confidence that material presented to us for composting will be acceptable to our composting partner.”

Vegware responded to the Covid-19 pandemic with advice for caterers on how to follow the social distancing guidelines issued by the government.

“Hygiene and sustainability are the two key demands in food service right now,” says Eilidh Brunton, Senior Waste Management Consultant at Vegware.

“Disposables are enabling socially distanced catering, but diners require robust environmental solutions more than ever.

“Vegware’s client engagement already helps minimise contamination in the compostables bins. Investing in Paper Round’s new sorting line is a belt and braces approach.

“Our partnership is a uniquely practical waste solution for all foodservice businesses in London, Brighton and Sussex who require disposables.”

Peter Maddox, Director of WRAP, said: “We are delighted to help Paper Round in its
important work through the Resource Action Fund. Resource efficiency projects such as this will help us achieve our goal of diverting and reducing waste, and better managing resources.”

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