Paper Round’s collections composting Vegware disposables is featured in the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s new Upstream Innovation guide, released 19 November.

Highlighted as a circular economy solution for plastic, the collaboration is London and Brighton’s first large-scale collection service for compostable packaging.

Paper Round is 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.

Now in its sixth month, the full service provides foodservice businesses with a practical waste management solution for catering disposables, which otherwise lack a quality recycling option. The service advances foodservice sustainability at a time when hygiene concerns are resulting in increased use of disposables.

Vegware and Paper Round focus on education as a key tool for best practice and to prevent contamination of their compostable waste stream. The route was officially launched in May 2020, following a 12-month pilot scheme at a dozen London sites, including corporate offices catered by bartlett mitchell, ISS Food Services, Lexington and Sodexo, and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, managed by Interserve FM, incorporating their catering services brand, Autograph.

Bill Swan, Paper Round’s Managing Director added, “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.”

The partnership offers a full service of both setting up and monitoring the implementation of compostable materials to ensure a best practice system, as well as handling the collection and hauling to an in-vessel composting facility, enVar, Cambridgeshire, where it is transformed into compost in a seven-week cycle.

“The compost enVar produces is compliant with the PAS100 quality specification. Used in agriculture, horticulture and landscaping, compost provides soil with a slow release of vital nutrients and improves soil structure, reducing flood risk.”

Positive client feedback is reported by global investment management firm PIMCO: “Once we were able to join the scheme and create the right waste pattern for the people to follow, making it easy for all to sort their waste properly, the response was exceedingly positive. I think it’s an easy thing to institute and brings a real sense of satisfaction to the end user.”

This was echoed by Carly Hardy at TV and film industry supplier, Location One: “At last, a service that allows our film and TV customers to support the circular economy when it comes to dealing with their used compostables. We were so excited to find it!”

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 COVID-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.”

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.”

Commenting on the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s selection, Vegware’s Environmental and Communications Director Lucy Frankel said: “We are proud to have our partnership with Paper Round included in the Upstream Innovation guide. This publication is a timely reminder that businesses are already working to provide practical, large-scale solutions to the challenge of foodservice waste management. In the current environment disposables are in greater demand than ever, we are delighted to be highlighted as an example, rethinking the packaging business model.”

Upstream innovation is about preventing waste from being created in the first place. The guide provides the necessary tools and over 100 case studies from companies across a range of sectors. It aims to inspire and empower others to take action on upstream innovation and achieve a circular economy for plastic in which plastic stays in the economy and out of the environment.

Explore the guide on the Ellen MacArthur Foundation website. Further information on Paper Round’s service collecting Vegware compostables can be found on the Paper Round website.