Vegware’s cups & lids approved for garden waste composting facilities

By Jenny Eagle

- Last updated on GMT

Vegware increases number of composting facilities which accept its cups & lids. Photo: Vegware.
Vegware increases number of composting facilities which accept its cups & lids. Photo: Vegware.
Vegware has led a campaign to increase the number of UK garden waste composting facilities, which can process certified compostable hot and cold cups and lids.

It means there are over 100 facilities which can process certified compostable drinks waste, which includes compostable hot cups, clear cold cups, and matching lids made from plant-based materials, not plastic. 

Packaging from plants

By contrast, there are soon to be six facilities in the UK which recycle plastic-lined coffee cups. 

Vegware makes packaging from plants, not plastic and turned to the Renewable Energy Association (REA) Organics Recycling Group, the Animal and Plant Health Agency, Environment Agency and Scottish Environment Protection Agency to push the deal through. 

Joe Frankel, CEO, Vegware, said this is a game changer for compostables. 

“With government approval for over 100 new composting facilities, we have expanded composting opportunities for our numerous clients who only serve drinks,” ​he said. 

“This complements our existing relationships with ​in-vessel composting (IVC) facilities and some anaerobic digestion facilities who accept our full range together with food waste.”​ 

In the UK, food waste is only allowed to be processed at IVC or anaerobic digestion facilities where processes reach 60-70ºC, killing any pathogens present in meat or bones. 

The Animal By-Product Regulations (ABPR) came into force after the UK’s Foot and Mouth outbreak, to ensure the fertiliser is safe to be spread on fields. 

Open windrow

Open windrow composting takes in garden waste from local authorities and businesses and has not been suitable for processing animal by-products, until today’s announcement of milk and cream residues being accepted together with certified compostable cups and lids. 

Compostable​ material types to be composted include:

  • hot and cold drinks cups
  • lids for hot and cold drinks cups
  • drinks cup clutches/holders/sleeves
  • drinks stirrers that consist of only untreated wood without any additives
  • drinks stirrers made of other compostable materials and/or include an additive
  • straws
  • coffee pods/capsules
  • used coffee grounds
  • used loose leaf tea
  • used tea in tea bags

The announcement does not apply for compostable waste material transported from outside the EU. 

Eilidh Brunton, group recycling consultant, Vegware, said it means garden waste composters are now officially allowed to process our cups and lids.

“In the US, Vegware is composted in open windrow facilities, and the Isle of Man’s DEFA has recently approved Vegware’s compostable drinks-only waste for open windrow,” ​she said. 

“We took this idea to the Organics Recycling Group, who explored the detail with the government agencies and we are delighted to have official approval, as this opens up new opportunities for Vegware’s hot cups, cold cups, lids and stirrers all to be composted together with garden waste here in the UK.​ 

To help more clients access commercial composting, Vegware has launched its own collection, Close the Loop. and is phasing in a Green Leaf band design as a visual for compostability. The design can also be used on posters and bins.

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