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Local independent cafés champion new service to compost disposables in Yorkshire

Posted: 4th April 2019

Three Yorkshire cafés are leading a campaign encouraging local businesses to use a new composting collection service that processes used Vegware compostable catering disposables. Opposite Cafe, Laynes Espresso and North Star Coffee Shop are to start composting their used Vegware, which can now be collected by Forge Recycling and taken to The Maltings waste facility, near Leeds. In 6-8 weeks, the waste is turned into compost for use on Yorkshire fields.

Leeds is engaged with innovative recycling initiatives, as demonstrated by its #LeedsByExample food and drink packaging recycling campaign. Vegware’s new composting alternative offers a solution for used Vegware and food waste from cafés, offices, schools and universities in Leeds, York and Harrogate and the surrounding region. Used Vegware is taken to The Maltings, a modified anaerobic digestion plant with a composting phase. Forge Recycling are the only Yorkshire-based ‘total’ waste recycling company who can offer this service.

Conventional disposables are notoriously hard to recycle due to their mix of plastic, card and food residues. New guidelines from waste agencies WRAP and Confederation of Paper Industries  highlight that anything more than food staining is problematic for paper recycling, and that plastic should be under 3-5% of the product.

Vegware is made from plant, not plastic, using renewable, lower carbon or recycled materials and is designed to be commercially composted with food waste. Its range of more than 300 products includes cutlery, hot and cold cups, tableware and takeaway containers.

Independent cafés in Leeds are encouraging the local business community to use this service:

“Vegware have become synonymous with being an environmentally responsible brand”, states Holly Bowman, Director at North Star Coffee. “It’s just brilliant that we can 100% be confident that waste is being dealt with in the right way.”

Laynes Espresso owner, Dave Olejnik, says, “We’ve always wanted the opportunity to be able to compost it. It’s great that Vegware have been able organise that. It’ll be a great thing for the city.”

Long time Vegware client Lou Henry, founder and owner of Opposite Cafe, started out with Vegware’s very first compostable spoons and increased her product range from there. Lou appeals to other independents, “I’d like to urge all small businesses in Leeds to use Vegware, to look up this scheme and join us.”

UK soils are suffering a fertility crisis, and Michael Gove has warned that British farms are 30 to 40 years away from, “the fundamental eradication of soil fertility”. Compost returns nutrients to the soil, and has the added benefit of improving soil structure, reducing the risk of floods.

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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