Why certification is important for compostable products
Vegware isn’t the only brand of compostable catering disposables. But let’s explore why so many in the waste sector choose only to partner with Vegware for commercial composting.
In short, Vegware does a huge amount of work behind the scenes to reassure clients, composters and collectors that our products can – and do – compost.
Degradable, biodegradable, compostable?
Why does it matter? Caterers know everything about their food, but packaging can be complex. So let’s bring it to life with an example.
Your staff restaurant needs small bags to sell brownies or rolls to go. You source some with ‘degradable’ in green print. Degradable sounds like biodegradable – isn’t that ok for composting?
Sadly not – these are normal plastics with an additive to make them break into lots of little flakes of plastic. Not compostable or recyclable, just a big littering problem.
Oxo-degradable plastic bags like this are still common in the UK, but are being banned all across the EU from July 2021. Don’t be fooled – oxo-degradables may be marketed as oxo-biodegradable, biotransformation, or even omni-degradable.
A simple purchasing mistake like this can risk contaminating soil with plastic – the last thing anyone wants. Our clients want their waste to become quality compost for farmers’ fields – and that has to start with quality compostable disposables.
Compostable – and certified
Vegware holds the deepest set of compostability certification in the packaging sector. Certification has two steps:
- Laboratory tests: Vegware chooses to make its cups, cutlery and containers from raw materials which are certified compostable. These materials get tested in laboratories to show they meet international compostability standards such as EN13432 or ASTM D6400.
- Independent certification: In addition, Vegware also applies to a certification agency to verify the product is compostable in its finished form, including any inks for printing. For example, a material could be compostable in thin sheet form, but a thick wine glass stem made from it may not break down quickly enough in commercial composting.
Tried & trusted
Vegware adds a third step – real-life trials. Senior Waste Management Consultant Eilidh Brunton explains:
“We have worked closely with the composting sector since 2010. On top of investing in certification, we also conduct field trials to ensure our products break down in a variety of composting facilities around the world.
In London, Brighton and Sussex, Paper Round takes clients’ Vegware waste to a facility where the composting process takes just seven weeks, and the compost they make passes the PAS quality standard.
With over 350 products in our range, certification is a major investment for us. But it’s incredibly important to demonstrate our products are suitable for industrial composting.”
Read more in our composting FAQ and discover composting collections in the UK.
Keen to compost? Use this form to send your details to our Environmental team.