Scots firm Vegware a leading light in fight against plastic waste

The debate around plastic pollution has helped to fuel demand for the packaging made from plants products pioneered by Edinburgh-based Vegware.

Aqualution produces a safe, environmentally friendly biocide used in sectors including agriculture, food and drink processing and healthcare. Picture: submitted
Aqualution produces a safe, environmentally friendly biocide used in sectors including agriculture, food and drink processing and healthcare. Picture: submitted

Since launching in 2006, the company has grown to be the market leader in compostable foodservice packaging, with operational bases in the UK, USA, Australia, and Hong Kong, and distribution throughout Europe, the Middle East, and Caribbean.

“New customers include the UK Parliament, who are using our plant-based disposables to support their zero waste to landfill policy and work towards their 2021 target of 75% recycling”, explains Lucy Frankel, Communications Director, Vegware.

The Best of VIBES winner will be chosen by public vote. To read about all ten shortlisted companies and place your vote, visit

Vegwares catering disposables are made from plants. Picture: submitted

The company is one of ten businesses shortlisted for the ‘Best of VIBES – the Scottish Environment Business Awards– as part of the competition’s 20th anniversary celebrations.

Vegware is a twice winner of VIBES, in 2010 and 2013, leading to a finalist position in the European Union’s prestigious European Business Awards for the Environment (EBAE) which are held every two years.

Since they were established in 1999, the VIBES awards, which are celebrating their 20th anniversary this year, have recognised more than 150 businesses in Scotland that are taking significant steps to improve or reduce their impact on the environment, typically making significant financial savings in the process.

Frankel continues: “As we expand as a company, we have ensured our producer responsibility has aligned with this growth. This includes launching our own composting collection service, Close the Loop, within regions in Scotland and England, as well as introducing our Green Leaf band design to make consumers, clients, and the waste sector easily recognise our products as compostable.”

Aqualution Systems, micro-company with seven staff based in Duns in the Scottish Borders, is another Best of VIBES contender.

The business is based around the production of a safe, environmentally friendly biocide used in many sectors including healthcare, agriculture, food and drink processing and pharmaceuticals to stop harmful micro-organisms including Norovirus, E-coli, MRSA, influenza and C-difficile.

Aqualution’s customers include companies in the Marks & Spencer’s supply chain, who use the company’s technology for decontaminating ready to eat foods such as fruit, salads and vegetables.

“We have introduced a new produce washing system into the M&S supply chain that has reduced the water consumption for the process by 80%, typically from 500,000 litres of water a week to 100,000 litres of water a week,” explains Aqualution Systems Chief Executive Nick Meakin.

“The produce washing system has also reduced chemical consumption by 80%, and electricity consumption by 85%.”

Aqualution won the Hydro Nation Water Innovation category, sponsored by the Scottish Government, in the 2018 VIBES awards. This recognises businesses, partnerships and collaborations that have developed innovative products, practices or services in the area of water treatment and water technology, which have resulted in increased sustainability.