Vegware, a manufacturer of plant-based compostable foodservice packaging, has announced that garden waste composting facilities across the UK are now officially allowed to process Vegware’s certified compostable hot and cold cups and lids, if milk and cream are the only animal by-products present.
As this only means facilities are now officially allowed to consider processing it, Vegware cups should not yet be disposed of in the UK’s garden waste bins.
According to the company, the next step is to work though through its environmental due diligence programme with the composting facilities and waste collectors. “We will announce good news region by region, wherever businesses and householders can start putting Vegware cups and lids in their garden waste bins,” the company said in a statement.
This was a Vegware initiative together with REA’s Organics Recycling Group, approved by the Animal and Plant Health Agency, Environment Agency and Scottish Environment Protection Agency.
Group Recycling Consultant Eilidh Brunton explains how the garden waste composting idea came about:
“In the US, Vegware is composted in open windrow facilities, and the Isle of Man’s DEFA has recently approved Vegware’s compostable drinks-only waste for open windrow. We discussed this with the Organics Recycling Group, who explored the detail with the government agencies. We are delighted to have official approval, as this opens up new opportunities for Vegware’s hot cups, cold cups, lids and stirrers all to be composted together with garden waste here in the UK.
“We already have sites keen to start a trial, and now we have the green light to start working through our due diligence process with these facilities. We expect that soon, UK householders and businesses in many regions will be able to put our compostable cups and lids in their garden waste bins.”
We work closely with REA’s Organics Recycling Group, the association which represents composters. Jeremy Jacobs, REA’s Technical Director, said:
“Every year 300 million tonnes of new plastic are produced, so ensuring as much as possible is recycled and reused is an urgent and critical issue if we want to tackle plastic pollution in our soils, rivers and seas. Many plastics are durable and can take 600 years to break down. Avoiding plastic through the use of compostable packaging where possible is clearly to be welcomed.
“We have worked closely with Vegware to bring about this change; their willingness to collaborate closely with the waste sector on compostability issues makes them an exemplar organisation in partnership working.
Charlie Trousdell, Chairman of REA’s Organics Recycling Group, the UK composting industry association, added:
“Vegware has worked closely on this with REA’s Organics Recycling Group. Their due diligence around compostability, certification and their efforts to ensure minimal contamination is an excellent example – demonstrating that making compostable packaging work takes more than simply selling packaging.”
In the UK, food waste is only allowed to be processed at in-vessel composting or anaerobic digestion facilities. These processes reach 60-70ºC, killing any pathogens which may be present from meat or bones. These UK animal by-product regulations (ABPR) came into force after the UK’s Foot and Mouth outbreak, to ensure that the resulting fertiliser is safe to be spread on fields.