Biodegradation & Composting

Large Scale Test for Compostable Plastics in London

As foodservice shifts to more disposables for hygiene, a new composting partnership offers a sustainable waste management solution for businesses in London, Brighton, and Sussex.

Recycling company Paper Round have partnered up with market leaders, Vegware, to launch the dedicated compostable packaging collection service with a webinar on 27th May.

This explores the learnings from a successful 12-month pilot scheme collecting from a dozen London sites, including corporate offices catered by bartlett mitchell, ISS Food Services, Lexington and Sodexo, and the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, managed by Interserve FM, incorporating their catering services brand, Autograph.

The free webinar on 27th May 2020 will share learnings and data from the pilot scheme and explain the composting process.

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Paper Round are a total waste management company, servicing over 6,000 customers in London, Brighton and Sussex.

Vegware are the specialists in plant-based compostable foodservice packaging, with an in-house Environmental team whose consultancy helps clients implement composting schemes.

The new service will see Paper Round collect Vegware’s compostable packaging as a separate waste stream and sent to an in-vessel composting facility, enVar, in Cambridgeshire where it is transformed into compost in a 7-week cycle. Used in agriculture, horticulture and landscaping, compost provides soil with a slow release of vital nutrients and improves soil structure, reducing flood risk.

As well as providing a separate waste stream, the partnership will focus on educating businesses on compostables and best practice recycling which the pilot found was key to making the service work.

For instance, although leftover food residues are accepted, contamination from other recyclables and waste must be kept to minimal levels to meet the requirements of composting sites. The compost enVar produces is compliant with the PAS100 quality specification. In collaboration with Vegware, Paper Round can now support compostable scheme launches and provide training to minimise contamination, so the waste gets the best environmental outcome. Quality is checked by Paper Round with systematic audits at participating client sites.

Bill Swan, Paper Round’s Managing Director added, “We are excited to launch this new product after successful trials with several Vegware customers. Our trials uncovered the importance of engagement and education to keep contamination levels low. Before launching a composting service, we wanted to make sure that we had a system that would deliver a viable waste stream for processors. After testing with a range of customer types we are now confident that this is possible.”

Commenting on the new service, Vegware’s Environmental and Communications Director Lucy Frankel said: “Caterers can only return to work with a major focus on safety and distancing. In the current environment disposables are in greater demand than ever, and sustainability is still paramount. We share Paper Round’s focus on quality source segregation and are pleased to see clients engaging with this issue. We are proud to launch this new composting solution to enable London, Brighton and Sussex to compost used Vegware disposables.”

Andy Sibley, Managing Director of enVar Composting Ltd received the waste from the trial scheme: “I am pleased with the way Vegware’s products work through enVar’s composting process and with the quality of the material we have received. Working together with Vegware, Paper Round and customers, we continue to reduce contamination through this exciting new waste stream.”

Catherine Burrows, Waste Development Manager, Sodexo: “This is an important partnership for us. Waste is one of our biggest collective challenges. We know that prevention is a key step in addressing it and we will always look to prevent waste where we can. We know that food service is going to see an increased demand for disposable packaging as workplaces start to reopen and this partnership is an important step in alleviating the impact this will have on the environment and our sustainability efforts.”

Sarah Morton, ISS Food Services’ Interim Operations Manager: “Across the business, all ISS clients are focusing on sustainability, and introducing Vegware’s plant-based disposables is a great initiative. One of our London corporate clients has been part of the pilot scheme to compost used Vegware, which ISS Food Services have been very proud to support. The Vegware team’s consultancy has been excellent, with really useful education sessions and bespoke bin signage to meet the client’s needs. It really has changed mindsets, helping people focus on choosing the right bin.”

Steve Fox, Purchasing Director at bartlett mitchell commented on the trial scheme: “We were excited to take part in this collection trial with Vegware and Paper Round. At last there is a potential solution to process compostable Vegware waste in a closed loop. We are very pleased that the trial has been a success and that composting will now be available to all our London business. We are anticipating an increase in the use of disposables as a result of CVD-19 and will do everything we can to mitigate any environmental impact. We fully support this initiative to engage more of our clients to convert their waste streams to this compostable solution.”

Julia Edmond, Managing Director of Lexington Catering: “The success of our trial with Vegware and Paper Round allows us to make a significant step forward in achieving sustainability targets, especially in this difficult time when we need to rely so much on disposable packaging to deliver safe take-away food for our customers.  We are very proud to be part of the trial and congratulations to Vegware and Paper Round for pioneering the compostable mission at this important time.”


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Paper Round partners with aaVegware to provide first large-scale commercial recycling service for compostables for London and Brighton following successful trials

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