It has been a wasteful day. This morning I attended a session about the new waste collection service which will be introduced in Edinburgh from September onwards. More of that important and welcome change nearer the time. But throughout the session I was repeatedly thinking that the real big gains lie not in better waste collection, important though that is, but further upstream. For example, rather than finding better ways to collect and recycle plastic packaging why not reduce the amount of packaging in the first place? And, given that food waste is, by weight, the single biggest mass in our bins, the real issue is why so much food is being bought and wasted in the first place.
So it was a delight therefore to visit award-winning local business Vegware only a couple of hours later, along with Green MSP Alison Johnstone. In only a few short years the company has grown from being based in a garage to occupying smart offices in Polwarth, alongside the Union Canal and employing almost 20 people. Its core business is producing completely compostable and disposable packaging for food and catering businesses and already has activity throughout the UK and elsewhere in Europe and North America.
But its ambition does not stop there, and now extends to what is in the packaging. Alison and I were there to launch the Food Waste Network which aims to link up businesses with their nearest food recycling services.
It is hard not to be caught up with the enthusiasm of the Vegware team – an excellent example of how business can be socially and environmentally sustainable and prosper too. And right here in the Fountainbridge area of Edinburgh. Fantastic!