FM – Government Agency

The FM Government Agency catering for in excess of 8000 staff and visitors were keen to find a sustainable solution for the vast amounts of catering waste and packaging which was produced on site.

Zest Recycle

The Background

Zest Recycle were approached by an international Facilities Management company as they were aware of the projects Zest had previously completed involving compostable packaging for a financial services company in Canary Wharf.

The FM company was working with a large government building catering for in excess of 8000 staff and visitors and were keen to find a more sustainable solution for the vast amounts of catering waste and packaging which was produced on site.

As a government agency with a commitment to supporting sustainable and economic prosperity, it was essential to find a solution that would meet the requirements of their overarching green principles

Zest Recycle
Biodegradable cup

The Solution

At the time of taking over the contract, the client was utilising single use disposable food packaging which was then being placed in the general waste containers by staff and visitors for disposal via Waste to Energy. As part of their commitment to promote sustainable waste practices, they were keen to pursue a policy to eradicate single use plastics throughout the site.

Working closely with our FM client and their catering company, Zest Recycle was able to source a compostable food packaging solution to replace all the existing polystyrene food packaging containers, including hot boxes, soup containers, drinks cups and cutlery.

A key part of the process of implementing the new system was to find a sustainable outlet for the compostable packaging which has not always been a given for businesses who choose to go down the route of compostable packaging. We sourced an In Vessel composting solution in Cambridgeshire and secured the necessary transportation of the waste from the client’s site to the treatment facility.

We worked extremely closely with all parties involved to ensure that this was the right solution for both the client and to ensure our end destination contractor would receive the required quality of material for their In Vessel Composting. This involved undertaking two guided tours of the contractors composting facility with all stakeholders involved in the contract prior to launch, and included presentations explaining the full cradle to grave process of the waste.

In addition to the above, we sourced new separate containers for the compostable packaging and carried out a full promotional day on launch of the new system, with over 100 members of staff visiting our stand on the day to learn about the benefits and participate in the interactive activities and competitions.

The Results

A key factor in ensuring that the new system was a success was ensuring that contamination was kept to an absolute minimum.

Both one month and three months after the launch of the new system, Account Director Marios Georgiou, at Zest Recycle carried out an audit of the waste being placed in the composting containers to review contamination levels and essentially assess how well the new system was working and if the launch had been well received.

The materials audited were of a very high quality and to date we have had no rejections of the materials received by the treatment facility.

The system has been successfully operating since its implementation in September 2019. By switching from single use packaging and implementing composting treatment the waste is being treated more sustainably and general waste has been reduced through diverting food and packaging waste from the general waste stream.

Zest Recycle

Switching to compostable packaging is not as straight forward as it may seem as there are many factors which can affect whether the material is suitable for treatment at the end of the process. We engaged with all stakeholders from the outset of the project to ensure the right product was chosen and the client was fully educated on the requirements for treatment, resulting in a successful switch to a more sustainable solution for our client.

Account Director, Zest Recycle

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