Category Archives: food waste and recycling

Recycle Week

It’s Recycle Week! Vegware’s activity sheets help children recycle at home, school and on the go. Our Bin Detective sheets help young recyclers ‘Use it! Check it! Toss it!’ by highlighting the differences in packaging and which bin to put it in.  

Conventional foodservice packaging is a mix of materials, which is can be a challenge to recycle, meaning it often ends up in landfill. Compostables are designed to be recycled with food scraps where accepted, turning into nutrient-rich compost for local farmers’ fields. Composting is a form of recycling that keeps resources local. 

With coloring and sorting sheets, crosswords and word searches, Vegware’s activity sheets answer a wide range of questions about compost, compostables, material segregation and the importance of recycling. Helping recyclers use it, check it, bin it this recycling week and forever. 

Download Vegware’s Bin Detective sheet here

Customer Spotlight: Airports Going Green

Teamwork makes the green work! 

Vegware helped Airports Going Green divert 634lbs of food scraps and used Vegware from landfill to create 159lbs of compost for Georgia farmers’ fields.  

The annual AGG conference brings together hundreds of aviation leaders, experts, and innovators from around the world to exchange sustainability knowledge. In its 11th year, the 2018 AGG was held at the Omni Hotel – CNN Center and hosted by Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and the American Association of Airport Executives (AAAE). 

Working with partners – for composting, food donation and waste, and recycling & sustainability – CompostNow, Goodr and Rubicon – Vegware’s Zero Waste Director, Julia Wetsein, prepared a full zero waste plan to help conference hosts meet their sustainability goal: Divert food scraps, unused food safe for human consumption, and used Vegware disposables away from landfill and to places where it can best help the local community while contributing to its circular economy. 

Continue reading

Use it! Check it! Toss it! – new activity sheets

There are lots of questions we receive around composting from the youngest of recyclers – also known to us as future Bin Detectives!

What is compost? Why do we recycle? How do compostables help the environment? Which bin do I put them in?

Our new Bin Detective activity sheets answer all these questions, having young recyclers hunt out the answers. From coloring and sorting sheets, to crosswords and word jumbles, Vegware’s Bin Detective helps recyclers of all ages learn to use, check and toss packaging correctly.

The easy to read sheets are suitable for a wide range of ages, taking young recyclers through the difficulties of recycling mixed material food packaging and the benefits of compost. Plus, top facts on how much energy is saved by recycling your glass, metal, and plastic.

Create future Bin Detectives by downloading activity sheets here!

INDEPENDENT BRISTOL, UK, CAFE COMPOSTS ITS VEGWARE DISPOSABLES

New case study! Independent Bristol café Spoke and Stringer has switched to Vegware and joined Close the Loop.

Close the Loop is Vegware’s own composting collection service, running in Bristol, Gloucestershire and Worcestershire, UK. It collects used Vegware and food scraps from Vegware clients, which are then taken to a local composting facility at Rose Hill, Gloucestershire. Used Vegware is turned into nutrient-rich compost for local farmers’ fields.

Spoke and Stringer is conscious about the environment and does whatever possible to reduce waste. “That’s why we’ve chosen Vegware where we can close the loop on all our packaging,” says Emma Linzel, the Operations Manager at Spoke and Stringer.

Continue reading

Join Vegware at the PAC-12 Sustainability Conference

Our Zero waste Director, Julia Wetstein, is speaking at the upcoming Pac-12 Sustainability Conference, 25-26 June at The University of Washington, Washington. Julia will be presenting research, conducted by CMA and the University of Washington, on the benefits of utilising composting packaging to capture post-consumer waste. Register for the conference today!

Julia will be discussing compostables on a panel alongside experts from the Composting Manufacturing Alliance (CMA) and University of California, Berkeley. Julia has over 20 years experience in composting, agriculture and implementing zero waste programs. In the Vegware team, she bridges the gap between the foodservice and composting worlds. We catch up with her before the conference:

Continue reading

Why soils matter

Soils and climate change

Poor soils fuel climate change. There is three times more carbon in the soil than in the atmosphere, and this carbon is released in land degradation.

Land degradation is the process by which the quality of the land is affected by human activity.  According the recent Global Assessment carried out by Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), land degradation is responsible for annual global emissions of up to 4.4 billion tonnes of CO2. It releases carbon stored in the soil and it effects the growth of plants, reducing their intake of carbon from the atmosphere.

IPBES’s Global Assessment states that, unless we reduce and reverse land degradation, it is projected that by 2050:

  • 50% of wild creatures will be lost,
  • human migration of people from the driest lands will rise,
  • and crop yields may reduce by up to 50% in some regions.

Addressing land degradation and climate change

The Paris Agreement on Climate Change targeted a long-term goal of keeping the increase in global average temperature to well below 2° above pre-industrial levels. Tackling land degradation could provide over 1/3 of the most cost-effective greenhouse gas mitigation activities needed by 2030 to achieve this goal.

Climate change and land degradation should be addressed together with similar urgency.

According to IPBES:

“Urgent action must be taken to halt, reduce and reverse land degradation. The longer we delay the more costly and difficult restoration becomes. The cost of inaction is at least three times higher than the cost of action. And the benefits of land restoration are many times more valuable than the costs.”

Toil for soil

Among other actions, Vegware believes we can take steps to reduce soil loss and improve soil health in crop lands. Composting used Vegware returns nutrients to the soil, and has the added benefit of improving soil structure, reducing the risk of floods. Our US Zero Waste Director connects clients to local composting collectors and commercial composting facilities, so that used Vegware can be composted with food scraps. Get in touch to learn more.

Compost Manufacturing Alliance officially approves Vegware for quality compost

Vegware announces today it has received the Compost Manufacturing Alliance (CMA) approval on a wide range of its plant-based compostable foodservice packaging. This provides official recognition and acceptance of the Vegware products as compostable by both CMA-I facilities and Cedar Grove’s covered processing system.

Testing compostables


The CMA and its affiliated partner, Cedar Grove Composting in Washington State, field testing results demonstrate that products manufactured by Vegware are acceptable in operations and processes.

The CMA is a partnership of the top U.S. compost manufacturers, providing field validation of compostable feed stocks within real world processing technologies. Cedar Grove Composting is a Seattle-based, family-owned business producing nutrient-rich compost.

As composting collections and processing grows in the US and globally, ensuring foodservice packaging works as feedstock in modern large-scale composting facilities is essential. This way, operations at each step of the organics recycling process runs smoothly.

Vegware approved

This official recognition allows access to the CMA “Composter Approved” logo. The “Composter Approved” logo signals nationwide processing opportunities to create quality compost from Vegware’s wide range of plant-based compostable foodservice packaging.

Continue reading

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.

Hobart becomes first Australian city to ban single-use plastic

Hobart City Council has voted to ban single-use plastic by 2020.  Businesses within the Hobart municipality will need to start phasing out single-use plastics in favour of re-usable or compostable packaging.

Vegware is delighted to hear of this first step in Australia, and our operational base in Sydney is poised to support clients transition to compostable packaging.

The city will have a period of public and legislative consultation before enacting the by-law either by late 2019 or early 2020 at the latest. Single-use plastic items such as plastic containers, straws, coffee cups, plastic lids and condiment sachets are on the list to be banned.  

Small but significant step

Environment Tasmania Director Philip Cocker said the proposed ban was a small but significant step in environmental sustainability for the city.

“I am sure all Hobart businesses will be able to implement the by-law with positive effects on their businesses,” he said in a statement.

This single-use plastic ban is one way to combat low plastic recycling rates. A new study by the University of Technology Sydney, NSW, has found that Australia is recycling less than one third of its plastic packaging waste. Meaning that reducing single-use plastic is vital.

Vegware packaging at Sush restaurant, Hobart

Businesses already on-board

Some Hobart businesses have already chosen to go plastic-free. Vegware customer Sush, a Hobart sushi restaurant, already has its own ban on single-use plastic containers. As Trish Haeusler, from Plastic Free Launceston, says, “A lot of small businesses are already onto this [re-usable or compostable packaging] because they know customers are demanding it.”

Expanding the ban

Councillor Bill Harvey – who led the charge against single-use plastic – says that this new by-law shows, “That we’re serious about leading by example and this is one of those decisions that will have impacts for councils across Australia.”

Hobart City Council has written to Environment Minister Elise Archer to request the State Government implement a state-wide plastic ban.

Watch this space!

Californian cities taking huge strides to reduce waste!

Berkeley and San Diego, California have set out new regulations to reduce waste from food and beverage single-use disposables. From 2020, all foodservice packaging must be compostable or reusable to comply with their Disposable Foodware and Litter Reduction Ordinance.

Many changes going on in Berkeley in the upcoming year…

From January 1st, 2020, restaurants, cafes and catering outlets must comply with the new disposables foodware standards. This means:

  • All foodservice packaging must be compostable (BPI certified and accepted by the local composter)
  • Food vendors must provide at least one set of three easily accessible receptacles composting, recycling, and landfill
  • See here for more details: scroll to item 22

Vegware holds the deepest set of compostability certification in the sector, including certified compostable by BPI, thereby meeting the new disposable foodware standards. Our Environmental team provide support and advice for foodservice operators seeking composting solutions to meet compliance. Read more about our extensive compostability certifications here.

San Diego is banning foam polystyrene foodservice containers within the city limits in steps to achieve zero waste!

City departments will no longer purchase or acquire foam polystyrene (styrofoam) foodservice containers, including bowls, plates, trays, cups, lids and other single-use items. Read more here.

This reduction of polystyrene is an excellent step, yet, takeaway packaging remains an integral part of consumers’ lifestyles. Vegware’s commercially compostable packaging is well suited for caterers looking for plastic-free alternatives to traditional polystyrene.

These changes build on a wave of similar city ordinances. Vegware welcomes these ambitious plans and we are keen to work with foodservice outlets to help them implement these changes.