Ridan orders a take out. The Vegware trials.

With less daylight hours and the temptation to stay wrapped up indoors, winter seemed the perfect time to conduct a Ridan Vegware compatibility test at the Grampus Inn!

The Grampus pub is a local gem nestled in the beautiful Lee Valley, North Devon.  Vegware sent a sample box; a broad range of their products to try in the Ridan.

vegware catering containers
Sample of Vegware products

So who are Vegware?  Founded in 2006 in Edinburg, Uk, they ‘pioneered the development and manufacture of eco friendly catering disposables and food packaging. Thier products are stylish, functional, economic and sustainable. The Vegware range of 250+ compostable products spans cutlery through to tableware, napkins, hot and cold drink cups, and takeaway packaging.’

The Grampus is a fantastic quirky pub, just back from Lee beach in Lee valley, North Devon. The proprietor, Bill Harvey, is well known locally for his fiddle playing (in the band M’Larkey) his onsite brewery and his three legged friend Lucy who inspired the brew ‘hoppydog’. The pubs is well respected for good food and great company.  Bill has worked hard to make The Grampus a more sustainable business with a woodchip boiler heating the building and water, much of his electricity is sourced from solar panels and now a Ridan Composter converts all his food waste into rich compost for his garden where he grows produce onsite for the kitchen. He has crafted his own range of beers, the waste materials of which are also fed through the Ridan.

The experiment:

IMG_2907
Samples cut up into pieces

We split the collection into two samples and treated them in different ways.

The first sample we cut up into small pieces and fed into the Ridan.  Small pieces as we didn’t want it to interfere with the paddle system inside the Ridan.  What came out two weeks later was put straight into the maturation bins.

The second sample was layered into the maturation bins with compost fresh out of the Ridan.

 

Vegware containers being recycled in a Ridan composter
Looking into the Ridan from above the inlet.
Vegware containers being recycled in a maturation box
Vegware samples layered in the maturation bin.

 

Results:

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composted Vegware take away box after 6-8 weeks

The results were interesting.  None of the products had a negative effect on the Ridan Process, both the Ridan and the maturation bins were hot with the Vegware products in them.  The two different methods did not seem to have a vastly different effect on the samples.  The factor which seemed to dictate how quickly the Vegware products broke down was the material they were made from: Paper, Card and Plam leaf materials broke down quickly and only mainly composted fragments remained at 6-8 weeks

The NatureFlex/PLA/CPLA based products didn’t break down as quickly.  Fragments were still clearly found at 12 weeks.  However at 16 weeks the maturation bin was emptied and spread out on the garden and no fragments were found at this stage.  It may be that fragments found at 12 weeks were at the top or on the side of the maturation bins where it is cooler.

In conclusion

It made no difference whether Vegware products were fed into the Ridan or layered in the maturation bins with compost.  So we recommend the layering in the maturation bins when using Vegware with the Ridan.

Paper, card and palm leaf products were fully composted at 12 weeks.

NatureFlex, PLA and CPLA products took longer but did eventually break down more like 16 weeks.

We do not recommend that Vegware should be used as an alternative carbon source, and it should be added in moderation.