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First mile and Vegware team up to boost compostable packaging recycling

Posted: 23rd September 2019

Plant-based packaging specialist, Vegware, is joining forces with leading recycling company, First Mile, to provide a UK-wide end-of-life solution for its compostable foodservice disposables using RecycleBox, First Mile’s low cost, courier-led recycling service.

First Mile currently collects over 25 material streams in London and Birmingham, including Vegware’s compostable packaging, but has now introduced RecycleBox to provide a national solution for those items not collected by local councils and other waste companies.

This service is especially important for those items that require separate collections to be recycled effectively. Compostable packaging is a great example of this as it must be sent to a specialist facility to be organically recycled, and should not be put in mixed recycling.

“First Mile’s RecycleBox service now creates full UK post-back coverage for used Vegware to access suitable waste infrastructure,” said Vegware’s environmental and communications director, Lucy Frankel.  “Over two dozen UK facilities accept our compostable products, and trade collections for used Vegware now cover 38% of UK postcodes, up from 2% in 2012 when we started working with the waste sector. We introduced First Mile to a facility who had tested and approved Vegware products in their process, and see RecycleBox as an innovative solution for individuals and foodservice businesses throughout the UK.”

RecycleBox is First Mile’s simple solution to overcoming the logistical barriers associated with recycling. Businesses or consumers can simply put the used Vegware disposables back in the cardboard box it came in (or order one from First Mile), and then book a collection online to return the box back to First Mile, who will then facilitate delivery to Vegware’s approved facility.

First Mile founder and CEO, Bruce Bratley, said: “We’re delighted to be working alongside Vegware to ensure that its customers’ compostable packaging is effectively recycled. There’s no doubt that the popularity of compostable packaging is on the increase as consumers look for an alternative to conventional plastic. However, the waste industry has been much slower to react, making it hard – and almost impossible in some locations – to ensure that used products end up in the correct facility to be recycled properly. With the help of our RecycleBox, Vegware customers across the country can now confidently and easily recycle their items.”

The RecycleBox service is also available for other items – from used electrical items to coffee pods or old shoes. These items are sorted into the correct recycling stream or, for those items where an end-of-life solution doesn’t currently exist, sent to First Mile’s innovative RecycleLab where new recycling solutions are explored.

Brands responsible for creating hard-to-recycle items can sponsor the RecycleBox service as a credible end-of-life solution to their products. Any brand needing help in finding a recycling solution can contact First Mile, who will assist them in finding a route via its network of processing partners.

Business Comment

Business Comment is the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce’s bi-monthly magazine. It provides insight on Edinburgh’s vibrant business community, with features on the city’s key sectors, interviews with leading figures and news on new business developments in the capital.
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