Vegware expands compostables collection scheme
Vegware makes disposable catering products such as cutlery, takeaway containers and coffee cups that can be processed in industrial composting facilities. All the products are suitable for in-vessel composting (IVC) facilities, which involves breaking down the waste in a closed container where temperature, moisture and oxygen levels can be strictly managed. Since July, some Vegware products are also accepted in open windrow composting, provided they are only contaminated with milk or cream.
Because Vegware and other compostable products will only break down in these specific conditions, it is crucial that they find their way into composting and do not end up in residual waste bins, where they will act in the same way as any other form of waste. As such, the businesses most suitable for Vegware products are those that exist in closed sites, such as schools, universities and amusement parks, where it is easier to capture the products from bins.
To improve the capture of its products, Vegware has developed its own collection scheme, called ‘Close the Loop’, which was launched in Scotland in 2017 and is also available to businesses in Gloucester, Worcester and now Bristol.
Close the Loop sees Vegware collect its used products from signed-up businesses and take them on to commercial composting facilities, enabling companies to better ensure that the items are being properly processed. Waste from Scotland is composted at Blantyre, outside Glasgow, while waste collected from Bristol, Gloucester and Worcester is all processed at Rose Hill Recycling in Gloucestershire.
In addition, Vegware has launched a new scheme for Bristol called the Composting Collective, which will involve independent cafes across the city collecting Vegware for composting. Participating businesses will display a window sticker advertising that they accept Vegware products; people can then deposit their items in a dedicated bin that will then be collected by the company.
The idea is that this will enable independent cafes in Bristol to start using compostable disposables instead of plastic ones, with the assurance that the collection infrastructure will be in place to compost them. However, this does rely on customers remembering to take their used containers back to a cafe rather than putting them into the nearest convenient general waste bin – so it will be crucial for all cafes signing up to the scheme to be vocal about what their customers should do with their waste. The more cafes involved, the more successful this scheme will be.
Georgia Budden, Vegware Recycling Advisor, said: “Bristol businesses really care about the environment, and are fully engaged in the details of waste. Many people choose Vegware because of our plant-based materials. But until now, there hasn’t been a Bristol route to commercial composting. We were determined to enable Bristol’s foodservice businesses to truly recycle catering waste here in the West Country, not just export contaminated plastics for incineration.”
The official launch for the new Vegware collection schemes in Bristol will be at 17.30 on 8 November at Cafe Matariki, Bath Street.