Zero waste firm drives success and wins award - Business Works
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Zero waste firm drives success and wins award

FSB Streamline Award winners with Roger Black The UK’s small businesses hold the key to recovery. Retailers, craftsmen, manufacturers, service providers and specialists – are the motor of Britain’s economy. The FSB and leading card payment processing company, Streamline, launched a nationwide award scheme to highlight the importance of small businesses, to recognise excellence and celebrate their success.

We received an overwhelming number of exciting entries, making this year's awards a huge success. The Awards recognise the contribution of small businesses in fuelling the economy’s growth, and the innovative approach business owners are making to boost their fortunes.

And the winner this year is ... Vegware, a company providing environmentally-friendly food packaging. The pioneering firm is the only UK business to provide completely compostable food packaging, avoiding resort to landfill or toxic incineration. Its 'eco-catering' products range from wine glasses to cutlery, all of which are based on renewable or recyclable materials, and are entirely plastic-free.

From just a team of two staff in 2009, the company now has customers and franchises across the globe, serving the hospitality and catering industries which have traditionally had a poor recycling rate.

Joe Frankel, founder of Vegware

"We saw that foodservice needed packaging which can actually be recycled after use and responded to that challenge," said Joe Frankel, MD and founder of Vegware. "Our solution of certified compostable catering disposals and full recycling support is helping the UK’s biggest operators meet sustainability targets and save money. As a result, we have enjoyed tenfold growth in three years and now employ a team of 26, up from two in late 2009. The FSB win is our fifth this year alone and is fantastic recognition that Vegware is making a positive contribution to the UK economy and global sustainability and we are truly delighted to see our achievements rewarded."

Conventional food service packaging is made of a mixture of different materials. Whilst many of these materials may, in theory, be recyclable if kept clean and separate, once glued together and then covered in food residue, the item is generally condemned to being buried or at best, burnt. Vegware ensures that all materials are compostable which means they can be placed in the same bin as food waste after use, with no need for sorting.

Other winners of the inaugural FSB Streamline Business Awards include:

  • Steven Armit, Young Entrepreneur of the Year:
    Steven is a young mechanic, who battled dyslexia and put himself through adult education. Started less than two years ago, the business began as a night-time service for mechanical work and minor body repairs, but began operating full time within two months. Within a year, Armit’s Autos has more than trebled in size, and has moved three times to accommodate a staggering growth in business.

  • Atelier Millinery, Micro Business of the Year:
    Atelier Millinery, run by Georgiana Abbott, provides bespoke and ready-to-wear headwear, as well as creative courses for hat designers in the making – promoting the best designs through its store. The store has attracted a number of high profile customers and was recently chosen to make the hats for the wedding comedy 'I Give it a Year' starring Rafe Spall and Rose Byrne.

  • My Little Angel, Online Business of the Year:
    My Little Angels is a wholesale business providing baby clothes, toys and accessories to hundreds of businesses and shops across the UK. Run by managing director, Jayne Everson, the business is close to hitting its first annual £1 million turnover and has revolutionised the market for baby products.

"Small businesses play a crucial role in supporting the UK economy and as Vegware has shown, the trajectory for growth can be staggering.," said Darren Wilson, Managing Director of Streamline. "Vegware identified a clear need in the marketplace, recognised the incentives for businesses to get on board and made a compelling financial and environmental case for potential customers."

"We were impressed by the staggering growth of this company, which now has an established footprint in countries from the US to Australia," concluded Colin Willman, Chairman of FSB Member Services. "Vegware fulfills a real need in the world of catering and proves that eco credentials are right at the heart of our economy’s future."

For more information about the FSB Streamline Awards, please visit:
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