EDINBURGH MELA has banned food traders from using polystyrene and has gone completely compostable with the help of local eco packaging firm Vegware.
Vegware’s compostable takeaway packaging is made from plants not plastic, and can be composted together with food waste.
Expanded polystyrene is a popular packaging material because it is a clean, safe product that does not carry germs, which is one reason it is popular in hospitals. It also performs exceptionally well in life cycle analysis, partly because it uses very little material and has a high calorific value when incinerated.
However, the world music, dance and culture festival initiated the ban to stop cross contamination preventing waste from being recycled.
Vegware’s group recycling consultant Eilidh Brunton explains. “There is a huge benefit for recycling. You can’t recycle food with plastic in it, and you can’t recycle plastic with food on it.” Insisting food vendors use vegware means that food waste and its packaging can go in the compostables bin together, increasing recycling and saving waste costs as food waste costs roughly half that of landfill or incineration.
“Vegware is excellent and so is expanded polystyrene,” commented Martin Kersh, executive director of the Foodservice Packaging Association. “The festival is entitled to have whatever packaging they want, but in the wider arena, you have to look at the total lifecycle of the material, especially as expanded polystyrene performs exceptionally well in life cycle analysis.
“Both of these packaging types are equally viable and the final call should be with the food packaging purchaser to make the right choice for their product and the consumer. Packaging should protect content and keep it in perfect condition to help to eliminate food waste.”