Green Gown Awards 2016 Food and Drink University of Cambridge Finalist

Tags: sustainability | green gown awards | food and drink | University of Cambridge | Vegware | composting

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Cambridge, cups, compost: Vegware’s compostable disposables enabling zero waste catering

Conventional takeaway packaging is challenging to recycle, with most going to incineration or landfill. In November 2015, University of Cambridge Catering Services switched to Vegware’s compostable takeaway packaging. All compostable takeaway cups, containers and cutlery are plastic-free, and go in the food waste bin.

Vegware offers expert recycling support; their environmental team helped the University of Cambridge identify the right collector and processing facility for used compostable packaging and food waste, created bespoke bin signage and awareness posters, and ran Green Days to engage staff and students in the new system and help them use the correct bins.

1.5 tonnes of used compostable packaging now goes to a local composting facility every month, where it’s combined with food and garden waste to create soil improver in a matter of weeks. With University encouragement, other Departments and Colleges are implementing this system.

Top 3 learnings

1 Collaborate with suppliers to find the best solution

2 Communication is great for delivering action, but should be secondary to making new systems easy and intuitive for users

3 Don’t get complacent after the successful roll out of a new initiative. Keep reviewing to make sure it’s working like it should.

CO2t Savings: 5.4 tonnes 
Actual/Estimated: Actual
No. of yrs: 6 months

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