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Vegware returns service to boost recycling

A new post-back service that enables fish and chip shops to return used disposables for recycling has been introduced by Vegware.

The plant-based packaging specialist has joined forces with leading recycling company First Mile to introduce RecycleBox, a courier service whereby shops can simply put used Vegware disposables back in the cardboard box it came in (or order one from First Mile), and then book a collection online to return it back to First Mile, who will then facilitate delivery to one of Vegware’s approved facilities.

The service is said to be a simple solution to overcoming the logistical barriers associated with recycling while providing a national solution for those items not collected by local councils and other waste companies.

First Mile currently collects over 25 material streams in London and Birmingham, including Vegware’s compostable packaging.

Lucy Frankel, Vegware’s environmental and communications director, comments: “First Mile’s RecycleBox service now creates full UK post-back coverage for used Vegware to access suitable waste infrastructure.

“Over two dozen UK facilities accept our compostable products, and trade collections for used Vegware now cover 38% of UK postcodes, up from 2% in 2012 when we started working with the waste sector. We introduced First Mile to a facility who had tested and approved Vegware products in their process, and see RecycleBox as an innovative solution for individuals and foodservice businesses throughout the UK.”

First Mile founder and CEO, Bruce Bratley, adds: “We’re delighted to be working alongside Vegware to ensure that its customers’ compostable packaging is effectively recycled. There’s no doubt that the popularity of compostable packaging is on the increase as consumers look for an alternative to conventional plastic. However, the waste industry has been much slower to react, making it hard - and almost impossible in some locations - to ensure that used products end up in the correct facility to be recycled properly. With the help of our RecycleBox, Vegware customers across the country can now confidently and easily recycle their items.”

The RecycleBox service is also available for other items – from used electrical items to coffee pods or old shoes. These items are sorted into the correct recycling stream or, for those items where an end-of-life solution doesn’t currently exist, sent to First Mile’s innovative RecycleLab where new recycling solutions are explored. 

Brands responsible for creating hard-to-recycle items can sponsor the RecycleBox service as a credible end-of-life solution to their products. Any brand needing help in finding a recycling solution can contact First Mile, who will assist them in finding a route via its network of processing partners. 

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