Tonnes less Edinburgh festival rubbish on the bill – thanks to Edinburgh University Student Union’s new recycling scheme

Press Release   •   Aug 22, 2012 10:28 BST

Festival venues run by Edinburgh University Student Association (EUSA) are this year making big changes to have far less rubbish on their bill – by diverting 25 tonnes of food waste from landfill. The Pleasance, Potterrow and Teviot venues are serving food and drink on compostable packaging made by Vegware, Edinburgh’s Green Company of the Year 2012. The mixed food waste is collected by local social enterprise CORE and taken for organics recycling.

EUSA President, James McAsh said, "We are proud to be the first Students' Association in Scotland to have completely adopted Vegware compostable packaging across all our catering outlets. This means that Festival-goers and students can be safe in the knowledge that the 25 tonnes of food waste generated by our venues during August, together with the wrapping it was served in, can be disposed of responsibly by our partners at CORE – reducing our landfill costs and our carbon footprint in the process."

This zero waste initiative is in place across EUSA’s 19 catering outlets - the extra 9 festival-time catering outlets as well as the 10 term-time outlets. EUSA's team of joiners have created 19 bespoke recycling stations with clear signage helping festival-goers choose the right bin.

James added, "EUSA is nationally recognised as a leader in sustainability but we feel that there is always room for improvement. This is another step closer towards our cradle-to-cradle waste strategy where discarded food ultimately ends up as useful natural resource rather than filling up a landfill site. We have shown that it is possible to do this so we now hope that others will follow our lead."

Vegware’s Communications Manager Lucy Frankel said: “The eco disposables used so far has saved over 800 kilos of carbon and 1.6 tonnes of virgin materials, and is set to divert over 4 tonnes of used packaging from landfill. It seems fitting that with Scotland leading the way with zero waste legislation, a Scottish university should be leading the way with zero waste events."

EUSA has chosen to work with eco packaging firm Vegware, Edinburgh's Green Company of the Year 2012, whose Scottish Parliamentary Motion 'Congratulations to Vegware' motion has cross-party support.

Edinburgh University Union is monitoring its waste outputs carefully and this year has the help of a Zero Waste Scotland intern who is analysing their progress towards zero waste to landfill. In 2011, EUSA venues created around 80 tonnes of waste during the festival, half of which went to landfill. Food waste made up two thirds of the weight of the landfill waste, and 90% of all waste could be recycled if free of food residue. So EUSA is hoping that this year’s initiative will significantly reduce waste to landfill.

This initiative is part of EUSA’s efforts to make further improvements to its environmental performance. Food waste recycling also helps EUSA reduce its landfill tax bill, and get ahead of incoming Scottish legislation banning food waste from landfill.



Notes to Editors:

1. EUSA is one of the greenest of student associations/unions in the UK, having won and been runner up in the NUS's Green Impact Awards scheme in the last 3 years.

2. Vegware is Edinburgh's Green Company of the Year 2012, and the Scottish Parliamentary Motion 'Congratulations to Vegware' motion has cross-party support.

3. Vegware is a founder supporter of WRAP’s Hospitality and Foodservice Agreement, and has created the Food Waste Network to matchmake any UK business with local food waste recycling services.


High-res images for this story

Download high or low res images of EUSA’s recycling stations in use by Edinburgh band Zopa and the Shakes from Vegware’s dropbox folder. High res images do not have _800x at the end of the file name.

Also a chart showing the rising cost of landfill vs food waste recycling in the UK.

Vegware Ltd is the UK’s first and only completely compostable food packaging company. The award-winning firm specialises in the development, manufacture and distribution of compostable packaging for food service. Vegware’s Food Waste Network matchmakes any UK business with food and used Vegware packaging from caterers, reprocessing it into topsoil, biogas or compost. Vegware invests in product development and has brought many compostable innovations to market, including hot cup lids, double wall cups, high-heat cutlery and soup containers.

Clients include Compass Group, Aramark, 3663 and Brakes as well as UK government offices and NHS units. Vegware is owned and managed by its founders. It is based in Edinburgh and distributes out of London, shipping to all over the UK, EU and beyond. The company's products are distributed in North America (Vegware US), Ireland, Benelux and South Africa. Visit for the full catalogue and further information.

Vegware Ltd is registered in Scotland, company number SC331521 at Canalside House, 43-45 Polwarth Crescent, Edinburgh, EH11 1HS. Information on Vegware US, Inc can be found at