Why do we make packaging from plants not plastic?
Renewable vs finite
First off, conventional plastic is made from oil, a finite resource. With oil running out, it seems sensible to use alternative materials made from renewable resources. Bioplastics are a smart modern solution, which can replace oil-based plastics and function perfectly.
Producing oil-based plastics is more carbon-intensive than plant-based alternatives. We have worked with an independent carbon consultant to understand the embodied carbon in different packaging materials. For example:
- Bagasse is the recycled sugarcane fibre we use to make clamshells. Bagasse has 99% less embodied carbon than polystyrene.
- Our cups are lined with plant-based PLA, a material with 72% less embodied carbon than PE, the oil-based plastic which lines standard cups.
Our Eco Audits quantify the difference in embodied CO2 per kilo for materials used to create Vegware products compared with their conventional packaging equivalents.
So far in 2017, Vegware’s clients together have saved over 4,700 tonnes of carbon by switching to plants, not plastic. That’s like cancelling the carbon from 2,966 flights from London to New York.
Cup recycling hit the headlines last year when it was revealed that, of the 2.5 billion cups used in the UK every year, fewer than one in 400 paper cups are recycled.
So, what’s the biggest challenge in coffee cup recycling? Conventional coffee cups are difficult to recycle due to the combination of plastic and card, both of which contaminate the other’s recycling stream. Add in the inevitable food residues and the result is generally landfill or incineration. In landfill, plastic can take up to 500 years to decompose.
Zero waste support
At Vegware, we make plant-based products instead. Our entire range is compostable, designed to be recycled along with food waste where facilities exist.
We’ve launched our own composting collection service in Scotland, Close the Loop, to make zero waste simple for our customers. Around the rest of the UK we offer zero waste support, with composting solutions in many regions.
Vegware believes in being part of a sustainable, circular economy and that’s part of the reason why our products are made from plants and not plastic. For more tips on how to go plastic-free see how our staff got on earlier in the year during Plastic Free July.