New eco packaging partnership helps America's food service go completely compostable

Warren, OH and Edinburgh, UK  (RestaurantNews.com)  America’s eco packaging sector is set for a game change with the announcement of a new exclusive alliance between Berkley Square, a division of Berk Enterprises, Inc. and Vegware Ltd. This timely alliance is perfectly aligned with the US-wide movement to mandate composting of food scraps and the growing ban on disposable foam containers. Vegware’s completely compostable packaging already enjoys US coast-to-coast availability but this new alliance will see a step-change, bringing the unique Vegware line to over 100 US distributors and thousands of food service establishments. Berk foresees a 15% increase in overall sales initially, with substantial growth expected in coming years.

New eco packaging partnership helps America's food service go completely compostableVegware is a global brand of award-winning eco disposables made from renewable or recycled materials such as sugar cane fiber or American-grown corn. Vegware’s comprehensive range of eco packaging is certified compostable. So unlike most foodservice packaging, Vegware can be composted with food waste after use. Vegware products can biodegrade in less than 12 weeks. They are widely accepted for the food waste recycling sector which is growing rapidly to satisfy demand nationwide.

Berk Enterprises, Inc. has served the American food service disposables industry since 1945. The company operates out of its 200,000 square foot facility in Warren, Ohio and is currently comprised of three divisions: Berkley Square, which serves a nationwide distribution network with the most extensive range of cutlery, straws, environmentally friendly products as well as a broad line of food service disposables; Berk Paper & Supply a distributor of restaurant and janitorial supplies throughout Ohio and Pennsylvania; and Berk Concession Supply, which sells packaging and custom printed drink-ware for the fair, festival and the entertainment industry.

Recognizing the need for greener packaging, Berk Enterprises launched their own Environ line of cutlery and tableware many years ago, but with the growth in demand for green products, Berk realized it was time to launch an entire line of earth friendly products that were not only biodegradable, but also compostable, and therefore suitable for inclusion in food waste recycling.

Robert Berk, President of Berk Enterprises said: “With so many states mandating composting and banning foam containers, we expect a 40-50% increase in the number of brokers and distributors who carry compostable packaging. And with Vegware, Berk is in the strongest possible position to provide sustainable compostable alternatives. Creativity, problem solving, and value are the bedrock of what Berk Enterprises, Inc. has been built upon, and continues to be what fuels us today. We can see that Vegware is the solution helping food service go green. We already had experience in the eco disposables market with our Environ brand but saw a great opportunity to take on what is becoming the best world’s best-known brand of completely compostable packaging. We are very excited to introduce a whole line of unique eco products to the American market.”

Founded by Edinburgh entrepreneur Joe Frankel after a year as a researcher at the University of California, Vegware has enjoyed 901% growth over five years and was recently ranked by Deloitte among the UK’s 30 fastest growing firms, 160th fastest in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. “I was inspired by the American can-do spirit and saw the huge potential of these renewable materials to reduce environmental impacts before and after use. At the core of what we do is a simple realization – you can’t recycle food with plastic in it, and you can’t recycle plastic with food on it. Vegware can be simply recycled with food waste after use. We have won dozens of awards for our compostable products, even meeting the Queen at Buckingham Palace. I am delighted we will be partnering with Berk to boost our presence in the US and help thousands of American food establishments go green and go zero waste.”

Keen to reduce trash costs and boost recycling, US municipalities are turning to composting as a way to avoid landfill and create a resource from waste. San Francisco’s Mandatory Recycling and Composting Ordinance requires residents and businesses to properly separate recyclables and compostables and keep them out of the landfill. Composting is already widespread in many areas, with New York, Vermont and Massachusetts already introducing similar mandates to San Francisco.

In late December 2013, in a bid to boost recycling rates, New York City Council voted to ban expanded foam containers. Washington DC is considering the same.  Bans are already in place in Seattle, Los Angeles, Portland, San Francisco and many other cities.

Berk Enterprises’ new alliance with Vegware is set to provide the solution for zero waste in food service; supporting municipalities’ need to reduce waste to landfill.

Notes to Editors:

  1. Vegware has won over 3 dozen awards and accolades since 2009, including two Scottish Parliamentary Motions – full list here.
  2. According to the 2013 Deloitte Fast 50, with 901% revenue growth over five years, Vegware is the 3rd fastest growing firm in Scotland, 30th fastest in the UK, and 160th fastest in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. Now in its sixteenth year, is an acknowledgement of the 50 fastest-growing technology companies in the UK.
  3. Vegware is National Champion in the European Business Awards – Europe’s largest, most prestigious and exciting business awards programme, celebrating Europe’s brightest businesses.  Vegware‘s video entry can be found here.
  4. The Vegware Community Fund gives small monthly grants to 13 non-profit sustainability projects, with a new recipient being added every quarter as Vegware grows – info here.

About Vegware

Vegware is a manufacturer and visionary brand – the only completely compostable packaging company operating globally. The multiple award-winning firm specializes in the development, manufacture and distribution of environmental foodservice packaging. Vegware offers full recycling support and its Food Waste Network is a hub of specialist knowledge and advice on zero waste in foodservice. 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 range from the UK’s biggest contract caterers and food distributors through to UK government offices, hospitals and independent artisan delis and cafes. Vegware was founded in 2006 and the global operations are coordinated from its HQ in Edinburgh, UK. The firm’s eco products are available worldwide through Berk Enterprises, Vegware South Africa, Vegware Europe, Vegware Australia, Horeca in UAE, Friendlypak in New Zealand as well as a Europe-wide network of distribution partners from Iceland to Portugal. Visit www.vegwareglobal.com for the full catalogue and further information.

For Vegware inquiries in the United States, please contact:

Berk Enterprises, Inc.
800-323-3547
vegware@berkpaper.com
www.vegwareus.com

Further information, interviews and more:

comms@vegware.co.uk
+44 (0)845 643 0406
@vegware
www.vegware.com

Lucy Frankel
Communications Director
Vegware
lucy@vegware.co.uk
+44(0)7906 635 139
@lucyfrankel

Photography

High and low res images of Vegware products, people and award wins can be found here. Low-res images include _800x in the filename and high-res images do not.