Paper Round Installs Compostables-Specific Sorting Line In Essex Facility

London-based recycling and waste management company Paper Round has installed a new sorting line for Vegware compostable catering disposables at its facility in Essex.

According to Let’s Recycle, the firm claims that the new line will allow Vegware, which produces plant-based and compostable takeaway packaging, such as cups, cutlery and containers, to expand the amount of compostable waste it can process and improve the quality of the output material.

Food contamination in the recycling stream can prevent conventional packaging from being properly processed, but Vegware processes food waste and residue into compost.

While testing the new system, Paper Round found out that a process for checking the quality of collected compostable material was key in maintaining the longevity of the service, as a result of the strict contamination criteria at composting sites.

Disposables collected in London, Brighton, and Sussex are placed on a sorting line that uses a belt configuration, bin lifts and a compactor, while trained pickers use sorting stations to remove non-target items such as conventional plastics or cans, which are then placed in the appropriate place for recycling using existing Materials Recycling Facility (MRF) processing.

Screening material will also help notice patterns in specific service users with high levels of contamination, so they can be highlighted to companies that need to improve customer engagement in recycling.

Vegware compostables are collected separately and taken to in-vessel composting facility enVar, where they are processed within seven weeks into compost compliant with the PAS 100 quality specification. The resulting compost is then used to fertilise local farmland.

Vegware scaled up their compostables service that was launched in May 2020 after the company reported a 43 per cent growth in sales up until January 2020.

The system has been funded with support from the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) Small Scale Non-Household Municipal Business Waste grant programme. WRAP administers the fund on behalf of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

Bill Swan, Managing Director at Paper Round, said: “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.”

Vegware responded to the Covid-19 pandemic with advice for caterers on how to follow the social distancing guidelines issued by the government, stating that hygiene and sustainability are the two key demands in food service at the moment, with disposables enabling social distanced catering.

However, diners need more robust environmental solutions than ever before.

Eilidh Brunton, Senior Waste Management Consultant at Vegware, said: “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 food service businesses in London, Brighton and Sussex who require disposables.”

Peter Maddox, Director of 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.”

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