Vegware creates first recycled cornstarch cutlery for 90% less carbon

Vegware, the completely compostable packaging firm, has created the first ever cutlery made from recycled cornstarch. The result of two years’ R&D, the cutlery is made of recycled cornstarch from a different manufacturing process. The new recycled material, which Vegware are calling RCPLA, has 90% less embodied carbon than the PS plastic standard plastic cutlery is made of, and 72% less carbon than new PLA cornstarch. Vegware’s new cutlery is still certified compostable, suitable for food waste recycling.

Joe Frankel, MD and founder of the UK’s 30th fastest growing firm, is responsible for new product development. He says: “I saw wastage from one of our manufacturing processes, and wondered how we could use that material to create something useful. After two years of development, we now have fantastic new cutlery which looks great, and is sturdy and strong. Best of all, our RCPLA cutlery uses a recycled material, and is certified compostable after use. This is just one of many exciting Vegware innovations in the pipeline.”

What is RCPLA?

  • PLA (polylactic acid) = clear cornstarch bioplastic. Used for cold cups, windows and hot cup linings.
  • CPLA (crystallised polylactic acid) = opaque crystallised PLA, strengthened for hot use. Used for hot cup and coup container lids.
  • RCPLA (recycled crystallised polylactic acid) = recycled CPLA. Used to make Vegware’s new cutlery.

The eco packaging brand’s new cutlery is high heat resistant, withstanding heat up to 85°C. Like all Vegware, the new RCPLA cutlery is certified compostable, so it can simply go in the food waste bin under use. Vegware’s non-profit initiative The Food Waste Network is a free service matchmaking any UK business with local food waste collections and promoting zero waste.

RCPLA’s embodied carbon figures come from Vegware’s recent work with independent carbon consultancy En-Count. The most widely used lifecycle assessment software, SimaPro, was used to quantify embodied carbon per kilo of all packaging materials. Vegware’s renewable plant materials were then compared with the conventional packaging materials used in the same application. For example, bagasse (recycled sugarcane) has 99% less embodied carbon than polystyrene (PS), and the cornstarch (PLA) lining on Vegware’s hot cups has 51% less carbon than a conventional plastic lining material (LDPE). These figures form the basis for Eco Audits, Vegware’s free tailored environmental reporting service.

The UK’s 30th fastest-growing company in the Deloitte Fast 50 Awards 2013, Vegware has achieved 919% turnover growth in the last five years. Run from its Edinburgh HQ, Vegware is now a global brand with operations spanning five continents.


Notes to Editors:

1.     Carbon savings quantify the difference in embodied CO2 per kilo for materials used to create Vegware products compared with their conventional packaging equivalents. All data provided by independent carbon consultancy En-Count using SimaPro’s lifecycle assessment database EcoEnvent v2.0.

2.     Factsheets about Vegware’s eco materials and carbon savings are available to download at

3.     Vegware has won over 40 awards and accolades since 2009, including two Scottish Parliamentary Motions – full list here.

4.     Vegware’s zero waste initiative The Food Waste Network is mapping all UK trade food waste collections by postcode, and offers a free matchmaking service for any UK business seeking food waste recycling.

5.     The Vegware Community Fund gives small monthly grants to 13 non-profit sustainability projects, with a new recipient being added every quarter as Vegware grows – info here.

About Vegware:

Vegware Ltd is the UK’s first and only completely compostable food packaging company. The multiple award-winning firm specialises in the development and manufacture of compostable packaging for foodservice. Vegware’s Food Waste Network matchmakes any UK business with local food waste recycling services. Vegware invests in product development and has brought many compostable innovations to market, including hot cup lids, double wall cups, high-heat cutlery and soup containers.

Clients range from the UK’s biggest contract caterers and food distributors through to UK government offices, NHS units and independent artisan delis and cafes. Vegware was founded in 2006 and the global operations are coordinated from its HQ in Edinburgh, UK. The firm’s eco products are available worldwide through Vegware US, Vegware South Africa, Vegware Hong Kong, Vegware Australia, Horeca in UAE, Friendlypak in New Zealand as well as a Europe-wide network of distribution partners from Iceland to Portugal. Visit for the full catalogue and further information.


Further information, interviews and more: | 0330 223 0400 | @vegware |

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