Tag Archives: oraganic waste

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:

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.



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.

EAGer to start school composting at Ellon Academy

Ellon Academy gets composting

School composting

Susan Swallow, head of the Ellon Acadamy Gardeners or EAGer bunch was excited to see us when we arrived at Ellon school with their brand new Ridan composter just after Easter.  We went up to deliver to the brand new £35 million pound purpose built Academy on Tuesday the 29th of March.  The plan is for all the organic waste from the kitchens to be turned into lovely rich compost for the gardens around the site.  The EAGer bunch are a group of students that meet every week.  Their aims are to ‘build a garden and grow lots of edible produce and encourage wildlife with flowers and habitat boxes’.

We wrapped up and braced ourselves against the Scottish climate and got the composter set up and ready for a presentation talk to school staff and members of Ellon Resource Centre.  Both the school and members of the Resource Centre will have a role in maintaining the gardens and most importantly the composter.  Students at the school will be responsible during term time with the daily operation of the Ridan.  Their tasks will include collection of the organic food waste from the kitchen and sawdust from the Design Technology department.  They will also have to load the composter, turn the handle each day as well as load the compost into the maturation bins.


Pupils from the enrichment program and some small curricular classes will be responsible for filling the RIDAN and turning the handle each day.  We are thrilled to have this ability to make our own compost on site.  The funding was awarded as part of an “Access to Education” grant for us to create a composting challenge.  The challenge will involve other types of composting – set up as an orienteering task around the new site so watch this space for more as we build the different composting stations!


Funding for the Ridan composter came from the Bags of Help grant from Tesco.

Tesco started the scheme with money generated by the 5p carrier bag charge.  The school won second place which gave them £10,000 towards setting up a composting challenge.  The challenge involves multiple different types of composting set up around the school grounds, each one a base on an orienteering task.  The Ridan is first base so far!  We look forward to hearing about all the others as they arrive on site.

As always it is a pleasure to meet enthusiastic people who are working hard to set valuable examples to the next generation.  Susan Swallow is one of the