Cromwell Polythene, the leading independent supplier of recycling and waste management products, sold more than 33 million Ecopond® compostable bags in its first full year as UK distributor for the brand.
Sales in November alone exceeded £250,000, boosted by the company’s appointment to two potentially lucrative frameworks – Scotland Excel and the Eastern Shires Purchasing Organisation (ESPO) – which are in addition to existing framework agreements with Braintree, Warrington and the Yorkshire Purchasing Organisation (YPO).
Among several new Ecopond® contracts is an order for 25-litre sacks for Bury Council, where the recycling rate has risen from nearly 28 per cent to almost 46 per cent, one of the most improved rates in the Greater Manchester area. The sacks are being used in Bury’s new food waste recycling scheme for schools, which has been adopted by most of the borough’s 82 primary and secondary schools.
The larger sacks are in addition to the council’s substantial orders for Ecopond® five-litre kitchen caddy liners, used in its domestic kerbside food waste recycling scheme, which already covers 73,000 households and is being rolled out to flats.
Recycling and waste awareness officer Talat Afzal says that the 25-litre sacks are a key factor in successful recycling in schools. “Before we rolled out the programme we carried out an extensive pilot to determine the do’s and don’ts of recycling in the school environment. The right size and type of liners were important factors, as was the micron level of the bags, which needed to be robust enough to withstand a busy catering kitchen environment. The Ecopond® sacks stood up to the trial very well.”
So determined is Bury Council to recycle every ounce of food waste, that in addition to the 25-litre sacks in its school kitchens, five-litre bags are strategically sited throughout school premises to collect plate scrapings from the dining area, fruit waste from key stage one pupils, lunchbox waste from older pupils and food waste from the staff room.
As to what happens to the collected food waste, this is sent to one of Greater Manchester’s four in-vessel composters where, along with domestic garden waste, it is turned into compost for agricultural and horticultural purposes.
Not only is the school food waste recycling scheme providing a further boost to Bury’s recycling rate, but it is also fulfilling an important educational role as pupils accept recycling as an everyday part of their lives and take that message home to their parents.
“The council’s experience, using Cromwell’s five-litre compostable bags in our domestic food waste scheme, reassured us when we selected the 25-litre counterpart. Although the scheme is still in its infancy, the take-up by schools has been really encouraging, the tonnages are building steadily and the bags are performing really well,” says Talat Afzal.