Vegware

Yellow Fang

Legendary Member
Location
Reading
Anyone come across it? This is biodegradable dispoaible cutlery and crockery. I bought a beaker of coffee from a newly opened coffee shop in Bristol. Apart from coffee, they sold reusable beakers made of bamboo. Their disposable beakers were made of vegware rather than plastic. I asked her whether they were more expensive than plastic, and she said yes, twice as much, about £1, or maybe 80p. I was a bit surprised about that as the coffee only cost £2. Shame it wasn't that nice. The next day I went to Plymouth, and the cafe attached to the station also sold bamboo beakers. I think they also served drinks in vegware.

Thing is, I think I prefer my coffee in a porcelain cup. They're reusable, although they're not biodegradable. I don't suppose bits of broken crockery end up in the stomachs of turtles. Their embedded energy might be quite high. They have to be fired and glazed at high temperatures. Maybe we should go back to drinking out of sheep's horns. But then sheep are ruminants, which mean they emit a lot of methane, and overgrazing by them leads to deforestation and soil erosion. Maybe we should go back to drinking from wooden bowls.
 

classic33

Legendary Member
Wouldn't wooden bowls lead to deforestation?
 

deptfordmarmoset

Full time tea drinker
Location
Armonmy Way
I first came across compostable glasses that looked and felt like plastic at a beer festival. I've not looked into the ecological implications of it, but it felt less wasteful at the time.
 

Pat "5mph"

A kilogrammicaly challenged woman
Moderator
Location
Glasgow
The catering dept in work use it. It seems as robust as plastic.

I just hope the biodegradable claim is true.....
Catering worker here ^_^
We switched to Vegware, which is a brand of disposables that claims to be totally compostable, a few years ago.
It's true Vegware is more expensive than plastic ware.
Because I'm the curious sort, I took an assortment of Vegware dispo home, put it in the compost bin.
Result: over 18 months later, the stuff was still as new in the compost bin, while the rest of compostable material in it was well rotted.
I went to read the labels on the Vegware boxes, it can only be composted in special, industrial recycling centres.
This year I took up organic gardening, so, as an experiment, I took various Vegware home to use as seedling starters.
Very worrying, none of the seeds planted in these pots germinated, they made the compost barren, while I had 100% success in plastic yogurt pots and the likes.
From a consumer point, the Vegware lids are dangerous, as they tend to melt with high temperature drinks like tea and black coffee.
 

deptfordmarmoset

Full time tea drinker
Location
Armonmy Way
Catering worker here ^_^
We switched to Vegware, which is a brand of disposables that claims to be totally compostable, a few years ago.
It's true Vegware is more expensive than plastic ware.
Because I'm the curious sort, I took an assortment of Vegware dispo home, put it in the compost bin.
Result: over 18 months later, the stuff was still as new in the compost bin, while the rest of compostable material in it was well rotted.
I went to read the labels on the Vegware boxes, it can only be composted in special, industrial recycling centres.
This year I took up organic gardening, so, as an experiment, I took various Vegware home to use as seedling starters.
Very worrying, none of the seeds planted in these pots germinated, they made the compost barren, while I had 100% success in plastic yogurt pots and the likes.
From a consumer point, the Vegware lids are dangerous, as they tend to melt with high temperature drinks like tea and black coffee.
Illuminating.
 

Dave 123

Legendary Member
Catering worker here ^_^
We switched to Vegware, which is a brand of disposables that claims to be totally compostable, a few years ago.
It's true Vegware is more expensive than plastic ware.
Because I'm the curious sort, I took an assortment of Vegware dispo home, put it in the compost bin.
Result: over 18 months later, the stuff was still as new in the compost bin, while the rest of compostable material in it was well rotted.
I went to read the labels on the Vegware boxes, it can only be composted in special, industrial recycling centres.
This year I took up organic gardening, so, as an experiment, I took various Vegware home to use as seedling starters.
Very worrying, none of the seeds planted in these pots germinated, they made the compost barren, while I had 100% success in plastic yogurt pots and the likes.
From a consumer point, the Vegware lids are dangerous, as they tend to melt with high temperature drinks like tea and black coffee.

:angry:
 

PaulSB

Legendary Member
The catering dept in work use it. It seems as robust as plastic.

I just hope the biodegradable claim is true.....
This is often the problem with biodegradable products. They may well degrade but the question has to be how long and under what conditions? To my mind biodegradable would be something I can chuck on my garden compost heap and it's gone in six months.

I doubt many of these products, even if truly and quickly biodegradable, ever do degrade as they don't reach the right environment to do so.

I worked in horticulture and we used massive amounts of plastic plant pots and containers. We were constantly approached by suppliers offering plastic alternatives, none truly worked.

When we were able to offer "ecologically friendly" products, for example, plants grown in peat free composts, the interest from garden centres, retailers and the public was zero - no interest whatsoever.

My household recycles and composts everything possible. When our general waste bin is emptied it only ever contains packaging. I'm serious 100% of my unrecycled household waste is packaging.

The only solution to this horrific problem is a ban on all superfluous packaging and significant taxes on packaging that can't be or the manufacturer won't make truly recyclable. Let the polluter pay, starting with the man in the street.
 
Last edited:

Paulus

Started young, and still going.
Location
Barnet,
I did a small experiment with a supposed bio degradable sandwich package. I left it in a spot where it would get the full range of weather. It took two and a half years to break down. The one I put in the compost still looked like it did in the first place.
 
OP
Yellow Fang

Yellow Fang

Legendary Member
Location
Reading
If vegware does not compost very well, can it be burned? Would burning the stuff emit any nasty carcinogens? If you throw a vegware beaker in a bin, what happens to it? If someone throws a beaker out their car window, what's its effect on the environment? What happens if something tries to eat it? What's its embodied energy like?
 

Drago

Flouncing Nobber
Location
Poshshire
Good old stainless steel. Lasts utterly indefinitely. The energy is expended only once. The pollution is created only once The ultimate recyclable. Issue each of us a set when we turn 18, that's it for life. When you snuff it, back they go to be reissued.

Vegware, leaving aside the rather worrying observations of our most awesome mod-cum environmental scientist Pat, is manufactured each time someone wants a meal. New energy expenditure. New extraction/creation/harvesting of raw materials, new pollution. Then it requires specialist equipment and more energy to degrade it at the end of its life. It's about as environmentally friendly as Dame Emma Thompson's weekly flight to her Scottish retreat.

I would suggest it is actually rather damaging to the environment, and these biodegradable claims are made not to save the planet, but to maximise shareholder profit by cynically riding the recent wave of environmentalism.
 

PaulSB

Legendary Member
If vegware does not compost very well, can it be burned? Would burning the stuff emit any nasty carcinogens? If you throw a vegware beaker in a bin, what happens to it? If someone throws a beaker out their car window, what's its effect on the environment? What happens if something tries to eat it? What's its embodied energy like?
I can't answer your specific questions but as a general observation I have yet to come across a truly biodegradable substitute for a plastic or other product.

I have to admit to being guilty in this respect during my career. We used both plastic and polystyrene in vast quantities. I was not able to influence the decision and there were no serious alternatives. I used to tell customers polystyrene is recyclable, it truly is, but there is only one recycling plant in the UK capable of handling it. We used to offer a collection service but there was zero interest.

Finding biodegradable products is extremely tough. I know people, who I try to educate, who throw banana skins in to the hedgerow. This on the basis it will rot - yes it will but takes around two years. If a truly natural product takes two years to break down how long do these marketing hype cups take??

I have wrappers from Which?, Guardian and Observer magazines in my compost heap. All claim to be 100% compostable........we shall see.
 
Top Bottom