This new service now means that composting collections are available to businesses across Scotland, taking used Vegware and food waste for industrial composting into high-grade horticultural compost. Launched to mark Recycle Week and International Coffee Day, Close the Loop enables foodservice to recycle all takeaway packaging, not just cups.
Starting in the Edinburgh company’s home turf, Vegware has launched its own collection service to demonstrate producer responsibility and make collections accessible to businesses all over Scotland. Run by the disposables manufacturer itself, Close the Loop understands the best facilities to process compostable packaging and food waste. Waste from the Central Belt is composted at GP Green Recycling, near Glasgow. Initial Close the Loop clients include the Glasgow Science Centre and independent Edinburgh cafes Union of Genius and Pumpkin Brown.
“Our Scottish customers are delighted to have a solution for composting their packaging that’s easy to adopt and manage, and gives them the confidence that their waste is going to the right place,” said Eilidh Brunton, Vegware’s group recycling consultant. Close the Loop is a disruptive model, a waste service which is flexible and competitively priced.
Clients choose any collection day and have no contract ties. By piggybacking onto existing collections and using trucks that are already on the road, Close the Loop is a carbon-friendly service. Vegware has set up zero waste systems with collections for clients around the UK, including corporate clients from London to Aberdeen, and food fairs at River Cottage. Dundee and Angus College composts its disposables on-site, creating quality mulch in 14 days for its horticultural courses.
Eilidh Brunton, Vegware’s group recycling consultant, explained: “There are now some initiatives to separate out and recycle plastic-lined paper cups. That is a good start, but what about the lid, tea bag, stirrer, spoon and sandwich box? In reality, used takeaway packaging is a mix of materials contaminated with food, and goes to incineration or landfill. Our approach is simple: if it’s all made from plants, not plastic, and can be composted together with food waste, then there’s no sorting. All used takeaway items go together with food waste, and can be processed at industrial composting facilities around the UK in under 12 weeks. Catering waste can create high-grade horticultural compost, to feed the next generation of plants.”
Edinburgh Coffee Festival, on 14 October 2017, is aiming to be the UK’s first zero waste coffee festival, with support from Vegware and Close the Loop. Vegware’s Environmental team has provided consultancy, signage and training, and all traders will be using compostable cups, lids and assorted disposables. All food waste, coffee grounds and used Vegware will be collected in Close the Loop bins and composted near Glasgow into high-grade horticultural compost. Edinburgh Coffee Festival organiser Martin Dare, said: “We understand the challenges of recycling coffee cups, but it’s only through working with Vegware that we have found a solution to allow Edinburgh Coffee Festival to truly go zero waste.
Cups are talked about the most, but making everything compostable keeps recycling simple. The measures we’re taking at the Festival are designed to demonstrate to a wider audience what compostables can achieve.”
Vegware has made a short animation for social media introducing Close the Loop and exploring why recycling goes beyond cups: