Recycling firm Paper Round has announced the commissioning of a new sorting line at its facility in Essex for the Vegware compostable catering disposables it collects in London, Brighton and Sussex.
The company says that the new line will enable it to increase the tonnage of compostable waste it can process and the output material quality as the company scales up its Vegware Compostables service launched in May 2020.
Vegware makes plant-based and compostable takeaway packaging, including cups, cutlery and containers. Food contamination is a major issue hindering the recycling of conventional packaging; in commercial composting however, food residues are processed to compost and are fully acceptable.
During trials for the service, Paper Round had identified that having a process for checking the quality of compostable material collected was essential for the long-term success of the service – given the strict contamination criteria at composting sites.
The sorting line has a belt configuration, bin lifts and a compactor with sorting stations for trained pickers to identify non-target items, such as conventional plastics or cans in material presented. These contaminants will be removed from the compostable stream and recovered for recycling using existing MRF processing. Screening material will also help quickly identify specific service users with high levels of contamination, so they can be targeted for greater customer engagement.
The sorting line has been funded with support from Vegware and WRAP’s Small Scale Non-Household Municipal Business Waste grant programme. WRAP administers the fund on behalf of Defra.
This project follows the launch of Paper Round’s Vegware Compostables recycling scheme launched in May 2020 with leading compostable manufacturer Vegware. Collected as a separate stream, Vegware compostables are delivered to in-vessel composting facility enVar. Here, they are processed in 7-weeks into compost compliant with the PAS 100 quality specification. The resulting compost is used to enrich local farmland.
Bill Swan, Managing Director at Paper Round, said: “We’re pleased to be awarded significant funds to help us improve the quality of compostable packaging. Compostables must meet strict quality specifications and it was important to us to achieve this. This investment reaffirms our company commitment to providing the industry with better quality recyclables and can give our customers confidence that material presented to us for composting will be acceptable to our composting partner”
“Hygiene and sustainability are the two key demands in foodservice right now,” says Eilidh Brunton, Senior Waste Management Consultant at Vegware. “Disposables are enabling socially distanced catering, but diners require robust environmental solutions more than ever. Vegware’s client engagement already helps minimise contamination in the compostables bins. Investing in Paper Round’s new sorting line is a belt and braces approach. Our partnership is a uniquely practical waste solution for all foodservice businesses in London, Brighton and Sussex who require disposables.”
Peter Maddox, Director WRAP, said: “We are delighted to help Paper Round in its important work through the Resource Action Fund. Resource efficiency projects such as this will help us achieve our goal of diverting and reducing waste, and better managing resources.”
Further information on Paper Round’s service collecting Vegware compostables is available at www.paper-round.co.uk.