With so many different materials available on the market and much confusion over what products are made from and how to dispose of them correctly, it’s no wonder consumers don’t fully understand what are the best products to buy for their requirements.  Having met with numerous confused and mis-informed customers, it became evident to us that we needed to educate them on the different materials firstly before moving onto what products would work for them.  

If you read any media article or social media post, many of them would have you believe that all plastic is bad and that we should all be only buying compostable products!  But what does compostable mean anyway and what bin should we throw it in?  

  With that in mind, we decided to carry out our own extensive research on the topic so you, the customer and consumer, don’t have to.  Working with our Purchasing and Quality Control departments and following the guidelines from the EU Directive on Single Use Plastics policy, we have put together a simple, but informative, reference guide on what type of plastics are available, how to dispose of them and more importantly what is due to be banned in the Single Use Plastics ban in July 2021.  

  It is also evident from customer feedback that there is a lack of understanding around Biodegradable and Compostable products.  Which is better or are they the same thing we are being constantly asked.  And what’s this “Closed Loop” term mean?  Well hopefully, we can help remove some of the mystery that surrounds these terms and make life easier for everyone who just wants to get on with their day and enjoy their takeaway coffee or salad on the go without having to Google or ask Alexa what to do with the empty packaging.

Biodegradable is a term given to a material or product that will eventually decompose or disintegrate back into the natural environment.  There is no time limit on how long this process will take as it depends on how its disposed of.  A number of factors such as light, water, oxygen and temperature play a part in the decomposing process which will determine how long it will take to be fully degraded.  

Compostable is a term given to a material or product that will degrade within a specific timeframe of approx. 90 days by being commercially composted.  These products are certified to the European standard EN13432 following testing.  It is important to note that compostable products need to be disposed of in a composting or food waste bin.  If they are placed in a regular recycling bin, they will contaminate all the other recyclable items within that bin.  If they are placed in a general waste bin, they will end up in an incinerator or landfill.  

  It is vital that a compostable product is sent away to be commercially composted in order to fully degrade as it was designed to do so.  Without boring you to tears or losing an hour of your life you won’t get back, here’s the basic science behind composting: As part of the composting process, four factors need to be met to ensure an item is fully composted – Moisture, Nutrition, Temperature and Oxygen.  This can be achieved by having compostable waste collected by a local waste collection company who have a composting facility.  

Closed Loop is the term used to indicate a fully completed cycle.  In terms of disposing of packaging, this indicates that a product can be disposed of in the correct bin, removed from site by a designated waste collection provider, recycled in the proper manner and the bi-product being utilised to produce new items.  

  In an ideal world, there would be multiple bins in all public areas, workplaces etc. for us to dispose of waste correctly but unfortunately that’s not the reality here in Ireland just yet and is probably still a long way off.   Buying a takeaway juice and disposing of the Compostable Juice Cup and Lid correctly would generally either involve you taking it home to put in your own brown bin for collection or returning to the place of purchase to place it in their composting bin, if they have one that is.  So sometimes, compostable isn’t always the best option, it all depends on the facilities within your environment.  Consider other plastics that are commonly recycled such as PET (Polyethylene), rPET (Recycled Polyethylene) or PP (Polypropylene) as an alternative to a compostable product that won’t end up being composted properly. 

  I hope that this, along with our reference guide, has helped clarify some detail around plastics and recycling, and convince you that not all plastics are bad!

With tickets sold out since early this year, Electric Picnic, Irelands answer to Glastonbury, is the biggest festival of the year!  The event which takes place in Stradbally, County Laois is a mecca for festival goers of all ages but most predominately 18–24 year olds.  That said, it’s just one of many festivals on a busy calendar with the Rose of Tralee, Fleadh Cheoil, Longitude, Lisdoonvarna and The Galway Races all contending for the top 10 spots of Irish Festivals.  

Festivals and events are crucial for Irish tourism growth as they attract more than 200,000 overseas visitors and contribute €108million to the economy every year.  Fáilte Ireland announced, as part of their plans for this year, to grow the festival sector further with a view to increasing that figure to 300,000 by 2022.    

  There have been huge changes in how festivals are run in recent years with a greater focus on sustainability since 2017.  Festivals such as All Together Now, Body & Soul and Bloom banned plastic bottles, plastic glasses, plastic food packaging and single use coffee cups at their festivals in recent years.  All bars and food units at the events used fully compostable food ware when serving food and beverages to consumers.   They also encourage consumers to dispose of their waste correctly in bins provided throughout festival sites, but it has been reported that organisers still feel there can be confusion over what is recyclable and what is not.  

  As you can imagine, the waste generated by festivals is astounding.  It is estimated that the average festival produces in the excess of 50 tonnes of waste.  However, thanks to the changes in organisers viewpoint on sustainability, the amount of waste being recycled greatly exceeds that going to landfill.  From a recent survey carried out by the Irish Times, Body & Soul reported that in 2014, they sent 59 tonnes of mixed municipal waste to landfill and recycled 17 tonnes. In 2018, they made vast improvements with 50.46 tonnes being recycled and only 3.5 tonnes going to landfill.

  The new EU Directive banning certain single-use plastics from 2021 will also have an impact on festivals this year and for the future.  As part of the new legislation, commonplace single-use plastics such as straws, plastic cutlery, plastic glasses and takeaway food containers made from expanded polystyrene (foam) are due to be banned.  A more recent addition to the hit list is products made from oxo-biodegradable material which were once thought to be helpful to the environment as they include an additive that helps plastic biodegrade in the open environment in the same way as natures waste only quicker.  

  As a result of this impending legislation, foodservice vendors will need to ensure they are only using 100% compostable products for serving food and beverages at events.  But this doesn’t come without a price, as compostable products tend to be more expensive than their generic plastic or foam variants.  In most cases 25% more expensive, a cost which will likely be passed onto the consumer.

  To further help combat issues around the disposal of single-use packaging, a leading Irish packaging supplier to the Foodservice and Wholesale sector are continuously expanding their Eco-Friendly Range.  Catering Disposables offer an extensive range of 100% Compostable products which is growing by the week.  Sharon Dowling, one of the company Directors, reported that they have seen a huge shift in requests for disposable cups and takeaway products over the last two years. 

“Up to two years ago, the majority of customers and consumers didn’t think twice about the plastic pint glasses, takeaway cups and containers that were being used for serving food and drinks at events and festivals.  However, since the end of 2017, there has been an accelerated focus on becoming more environmentally friendly and we feel that this will only heighten with the new EU Legislation on Single-Use Plastics.  We have seen increases as high as 1400% for Quarter 1 2018 versus Quarter 1 2019 for certain eco-friendly products with a particular emphasis on coffee cups.  The majority of the big brands that we supply to have also made the switch to 100% Compostable cups in the past year or are in the midst of doing so.  We expect other compostable products such as Juice Cups, Soup Containers and Corrugated Takeaway Boxes will become popular during this year, all of which we have in stock now.”

  Catering Disposables supply an extensive range of disposable products including a 100% Compostable range.  They are also specialists in branding and design collaboration.  For a tailored quotation or to speak to one of their packaging experts.

We all know that Ireland has experienced a Coffee boom over the last decade.  Historically, a nation of tea drinkers, our shift in hot beverage choices has led to over 30 variations of coffee being served in some coffee shops.  It isn’t that long ago that poor quality filtered coffee was the only post-dinner offering in most restaurants and every house in the country was happy to drink instant from a jar.  But thanks to both multi-national coffee chains and individually owned artisan coffee boutiques opening across the country, our palettes have become more refined and the average consumer will not accept anything but the best.       

The last 12 months has seen huge changes within the coffee industry and, in particular, the takeaway kind.  With the Coffee Shop and Café sector worth €424m at the end of 2017 and an estimated 200 million single-use cups being thrown away each year, it was time for a change!  The topic of a levy or all-out ban on single-use plastics started on the back of the popular BBC programme, Blue Planet 2, aired in December 2017 with Sir David Attenborough highlighting the impact of human activity on marine life.  Since then, consumers and retailers alike are conscious of the environment and the effect single-use disposable packaging has on it.     

Whilst compostable (Polylactic Acid) PLA single-use cups, plates and containers made from sugar cane and compostable cutlery have been around for years, customers and consumers were slow to change due to the increased cost of these products.  On average a compostable version of a product will cost approx. 25% more than the traditional non-compostable version.     

That said, the last 12 months has seen a seen a huge shift with outlets being asked for eco-friendly packaging along with certain events and festivals banning the use of non-certified compostable packaging being served.   Such is the demand for eco-friendly disposables, that certain products such as compostable paper straws could not be sourced last summer as manufacturers struggled to keep up with demand.  Innovation in disposable packaging has been most accelerated in the last year. Takeaway boxes, salad and soup containers, deli packaging and juice cups are just some of the newer products now available in 100% Compostable materials.  And this is just the start, as we feel that most disposable packaging will eventually have a Compostable variant available in the near future.        

More recently, the Irish Government has made a statement that they are no longer purchasing single-use plastic cups, cutlery and straws.  They are looking to lead the way in limiting the use of single-use plastics, therefore, the purchase of such plastics will be banned for all Government agencies and schools from March 31st 2019.  

However, there is still a long way to go with regard to disposing of compostable products.  At this point in time, there is no on-street facilities to dispose of a compostable cup or other such items, so these end up in general waste.  Until such time when a Government investment in public street bins for compostable items is in place, one would have to ask themselves, is the effort to switch to compostable nothing more than an extra cost to customers and consumers of these products?     

The majority of Waste management companies offer Commercial Composting facilities for products placed in the food waste bin (generally a brown bin) at home or in businesses.  While this sounds like we are on the right track to becoming a greener country, a recent statement from Pauline Mc Donagh of the southern region waste management office in Limerick, said that “about 100 per cent of all coffee cups which arrive in recycling facilities get pulled from the sorting trays over concerns that they are not recyclable”.   Understandably, the people sorting the waste don’t have the time to stop and check every cup and its recycling capability.  Therefore, it would appear, that until every disposable cup is 100% Compostable or there are dedicated bins widely available to dispose of them, then the chance of them being recycled is slim.        

Catering Disposables supply an extensive range of disposable cups and accessories including a 100% Compostable range.  We are also specialists in branding and design collaboration.  So, if you are looking for unique packaging that will stand out from the crowd, contact us today to speak with one of our design experts.  

Tel: +353 1 257 5250 / Email: info@cateringdisposables.ie  

With Christmas just around the corner, we have put together a list of essential disposable items to have your customers ready for the festive season.  As retailers and outlets are featuring Christmas products earlier each year, stock up now to avoid disappointment!   Glasses: Whether you’re hosting staff christmas drinks, a mulled wine reception for your book club or a cheese and wine evening for the neighbours, glasses are an essential item on everyone’s Christmas entertaining list.  Whilst the uses of wine and champagne glasses are self-explanatory, consider using half pint glasses to serve shorts, cocktails and non-alcoholic beverages.  Shot glasses are also ideal for serving samples of food and nibbles.  To view our range of disposables glassware, download our PDF here.  

Wine Gift Boxes Another must have for customers this festive season is a wine gift box.  One of the most popular sizes being the 2-bottle gift box. A great way to beautifully present wine as a gift.  With a secure handle for transporting, it makes it ideal for both personal and corporate gift giving.   Napkins  Napkins are one of the most used commodities around the Christmas holiday season.  With more uses than we can think of, napkins are used as a serving aid instead of plates, for mopping up spills and for covering plates and trays.  We have an extensive range of napkins ranging in sizes and colours to suit every colour theme. 

Cups While disposable cups are a commonplace product throughout the year, a Christmas theme cup will always stand out from the crowd.  With more uses than serving just coffee and hot chocolates, a double wall cup is ideal for festive mulled wine and Irish coffees.  Many high-street coffee chains design their own range of cups with much hype around the design.  If your budget doesn’t stretch that far, why not consider an off the shelf design that will be as equally eye-catching as your competitors.  

  Don’t forget to check out our new Christmas Cup and accompanying Napkin with its festive reindeer theme.    

Cake Cards & Cake Boxes Yet another range of disposable products that gains popularity pre-Christmas.  Cake cards and boxes are a must have for any bakery, deli or artisan café selling cakes or sweet treats.  A variety of options from cupcakes, tarts, donuts, pastries and traditional Christmas cakes can be displayed and served in these boxes with a multitude of sizes available. 

Download our Bakery Range flyer to view some of our most popular products within this range.     Once you are stocked up on all the essentials for the Christmas ahead, all that is left for you to do is relax and watch the pre-Christmas mayhem unfold.  For any products that are not featured here, please contact our sales team who will be happy to assist you.

Without a doubt, one of the main topics being discussed across the foodservice industry and the general media this year, is that of Eco-Friendly and Compostable products.  And the spotlight is firmly focused on single-use cups and their impact on the environment.   This hot topic started on the back of the popular BBC programme, Blue Planet 2, aired last December with Sir David Attenborough highlighting the impact of human activity on marine life.  Since then, consumers and retailers alike are conscious of the environment and the effect single-use disposable packaging has on it.  

  Valued at over €7.8bn (BordBia Nov 2017), the Foodservice Market has grown from strength to strength and, in particular, the Food-To-Go and Takeaway sectors have flourished the most.  Falling unemployment rates leading to increased disposable income, consumers leading busier lives and healthier takeaway options are just some of the factors that have led to the growth of these sectors.  To coincide with that growth, there has been a significant increase in the amount of disposable packaging being used.  It is estimated that up to 200 million single use cups are thrown away every year in Ireland.  

  On the flipside, the innovation in Eco-Friendly disposable packaging has grown momentum over the last 12 months.  Whilst compostable single-use cups, plates and containers made from sugar cane and compostable cutlery have been around for years, the industry has seen a huge shift in other products such as salad containers and straws changing from traditional plastic to PLA and paper.  This shift has predominately been consumer led with outlets being asked for eco-friendly packaging along with certain events and festivals banning the use of non-certified compostable packaging being served.   Such is the demand for eco-friendly disposables, that certain products could not be sourced as manufacturers struggled to keep up with demand.  We alone saw a growth of over 500% in Compostable cups from quarter 1 versus quarter 2 this year.  

  At Catering Disposables, we are passionate about packaging and providing our customers with the best products available.  As a leading supplier to the Wholesale and Foodservice sector, sustainability plays an important role when choosing what products to supply.  We are committed to doing our part to protect the environment, and with that in mind, have expanded our Greenspirit Range.  This range consists of catering disposable packaging made from natural, sustainable and renewable resources such as Ingeo PLA and Sugar Cane Fiber.  

  A lot of time has been spent on both researching environmentally friendly options and sourcing the best suppliers of these products.  As customers and consumers become increasingly aware of the effects of disposable packaging on the environment, we feel it is important to not only provide the best solutions but to also educate them on what they are buying and how to dispose of them.   With compostable solutions now widely available, we are a step closer to resolving this issue.  However, we still need to visit the issue of proper disposal of these products to ensure they end up in the proper waste facilities.

  We endeavour to grow this range by presenting you with upcoming advancements in this area.  Our existing range of Eco-Friendly products featured in our new brochure covers categories from Cups & Accessories, Glasses and Takeaway Containers to Cutlery and Straws but check in with us on a regular basis to see what new products are being added each month!    

There’s been a lot of media coverage recently of potential cup levies on disposable coffee cups and whilst we are at the forefront of these changes by ensuring we can offer our customers the eco-friendliest options available, we have decided to look at a different topic for a change – What’s in the cup!

  We all know that Ireland has experienced a Coffee boom over the last decade.  Historically, a nation of tea drinkers, our shift in hot beverage choices has led to over 30 variations of coffee being served in some coffee shops.  It isn’t that long ago that poor quality filtered coffee was the only post-dinner offering in most restaurants and every house in the country was happy to drink instant from a jar.  But thanks to both multi-national coffee chains and more recently, individually owned artisan coffee boutiques opening across the country, our palettes have become more refined and the average consumer will not accept anything but the best. 

  Having entered the “third wave” of coffee, where consumers’ preferences have become more sophisticated along with their willingness to pay more for premium coffee, it is no surprise that there are over 40 Coffee Roasters in Ireland today.  Considered an artisan product as opposed to just a basic commodity, the offer of premium quality coffee is just around the corner.  These roasters are passionate about their craft, ensuring their product is not only of the highest standard but ethically sourced to boot.  And not only is the coffee bean of choice pivotal in the perfect cup of coffee, but the accompanying milk has come under scrutiny of late.  As a result, soy, almond and oat milk are all commonplace options on today’s coffee shop menu.

  With Irish consumers becoming more health conscious, aware of their alcohol consumption and a new generation, namely Millennials, creating a trend of socialising in coffee houses as opposed to pubs, the future of Irish Coffee is bright.  2017 ended with the Coffee Shop and Café sector worth a healthy €424m to the Island of Ireland economy with predictions of a €520m worth by 2020.  It is no wonder that coffee is often referred to as “Black Gold”.

  Catering Disposables supply an extensive range of disposable cups and accessories including a 100% Compostable range.  We are also specialists in branding and design collaboration.  So, if you are looking for unique packaging that will stand out from the crowd, call us today to speak with one of our design experts.  

  Feel free to view the complete range at www.cateringdisposables.ie  

With the weather finally taking a turn for the better and Spring well under way, many are looking ahead and starting to plan what festivals they’ll attend this Summer.  We may be a small country, but we have an array of festivals across the country featuring music, art and food happening every weekend of the Summer.  A plethora of websites and blogs are awash with the top festivals to attend, top tips on what to bring, what to wear and how to be festival ready. 

So, we’ve compiled a disposable packaging guide to have you stocked up and ready for festival traders.  Kicking off from May and running straight through to early September, here’s all you need to get the best out of Festival Season.

Glasses, Cups & Accessories: Probably the most essential disposable product on any festival traders list is glasses.  Whether serving beer, soft drinks, juices or smoothies, glasses in a variety of sizes is a must have.  A handy accompaniment for beverages-to-go is a 4 Cup Carrier to lighten the load.  Download our flyer on The Complete Glasses Solution from our website to ensure you have all options catered for.  Don’t forget to stock up on a Double Wall Cup, stirrers and sugar sachets for that much needed morning after coffee.

Takeaway Packaging: Hamburgers, fries, hot dogs, pizza, salads, fruit – festival food comes in many forms nowadays.  Encourage traders to opt for multi-functional packaging that will be flexible enough for serving a number of different foods to try and save space.   A Kraft Paperfood Tray works great for fries, nachos and noodle dishes but works equally well for a burger, salad or rice dish.  Similarly, Greaseproof Sheets are adaptable for wrapping burgers, sandwiches, paninis, kebabs, and cakes.  These products also tick the box for “Eco-Friendly only” events such as Bloom In The Park.  For more artisan style food outlets, our new Kraft Salad Bowls with clear lids are ideal to showcase more premium food to festival goers.

  Napkins & Cutlery: Another essential for food on the-go is cutlery, namely forks, and napkins.  We supply every napkin from economic 1ply right up to Linen Style in a variety of colours.   Again, if the event is strict on “Eco-Friendly only” products being used, we have fully compostable PLA and wooden cutlery on offer.

  Hygiene: Let’s face it, facilities at festivals tend to be fairly basic.  Almost every checklist for festival goers feature both hand sanitiser and toilet roll as essential items.  I don’t think we need to say anymore here!

  Refuse: After what should be a busy day for traders, a strong refuse sack is vital.  When under pressure and needing to keep their work area clear, a Heavy Duty Refuse Sack will help keep things in order without the risk of splitting or leaking.

Compostable: With the rise in awareness of the effects of disposable packaging on the environment, some festivals are converting to only allowing Biodegradable or Compostable products to be used at their event.  With that in mind, we can offer Eco-Friendly options on all product ranges mentioned above.   Lastly in the words of Mary Schmich “Wear Sunscreen” (but you won’t get that from us!)

  So, whether you’re in the vicinity of Forbidden Fruit, Electric Picnic, Fleadh Cèoil or Sea Sessions, we have the packaging solutions to ensure you offer only the best to festival traders.  Visit our Website: https://www.cateringdisposables.ie/brochure.html to download our Festival Flyer or call us today to speak with one of our Sales Team: 01 257 5250.

Download Brochure

With Irelands Foodservice Market currently valued at €7.8bn, one of the most interesting trends of the foodservice industry is the growth within the Takeaway sector.  As we take a closer look at the contributory factors to this development it is very evident that this sector will experience future growth through its innovation in how we see the local takeaway.  Historically identified as the local chipper, Chinese or well-known pizza chain, these days a takeaway comes in a more varied format. Falling unemployment rates lending to more disposable income has resulted in takeaway becoming more than a just one-off treat.  In conjunction with that, consumers are leading busier lives juggling work, commuting and family life, so for many, takeaway has become the solution for a hassle free and quick meal option. 

  According to research from DKM Economic Consultant, the 25-34 age group are predominant purchasers of takeaway food, with Dublin consumers accounting for more than half of the takeaway market.  The introduction of new foods available for takeaway and the prominence of healthy options is another contributing factor to the industry growth.  As consumers become increasingly conscious of nutritional content and the impact of food on their health, it is easy to see why franchises like Freshly Chopped are opening new branches on a regular basis.  To coincide with that, their multinational competitors such as Mc Donald’s have also, in recent times, diversified their menu offerings to include salads and healthy snacks for kids.  This has led to a transformation in the accompanying disposable packaging and was one of the reasons we introduced our Kraft salad bowl with clear lid earlier this year.  There is also a huge focus on eco-friendly products right now and there are plenty of options for the takeaway industry to “go green” with the Bagasse range as just one option.

  As more consumers become well-travelled and experience new cuisines, taste buds change and the demand for new flavours heightens.  Consequently, Asian food is featuring heavily across the takeaway sector.  However, its not just the traditional Chinese or Thai variant that’s enjoying this newfound fame – but Malaysian, Korean, Nepalese and even Vietnamese.  We have also seen a shift in the choice of packaging used in these ethnic food outlets – moving from traditional noodle boxes to soup containers with leak-proof lids.

  With advancements in digitalisation through online ordering and Apps, the convenience of ordering takeaway food has never been easier. Driven by consumers demands for food at their fingertips, companies such Just Eat are becoming more prevalent as a result and the home delivery service has yet to peak in Ireland.  Just-Eat are now in their 4th year of hosting the National Takeaway Awards to help recognise and reward the best in class in the industry – firmly putting takeaways on the map.  Parallel with this, we have sourced new and innovative packaging that is not only functional by keeping food hotter for longer, but is portable to aid in the delivery service.

  Branding has become very prominent with the increase in the number of coffee chains, juice bars and salad bars all designing their own logos.  Branding is part of their identity, helping them establish their presence in the market and makes them easily recognisable.  With social media sites such as Instagram and Snapchat and the rise in vloggers promoting certain brands and products, it is a huge benefit to have a unique brand.  We have seen a huge increase in the number of our customers requesting branded products as this trend intensifies.

  As a leading supplier of takeaway and food-to-go packaging solutions, you will have no doubt encountered some of our packaging as part of your takeaway experience.  With an increase in high end restaurants and ethnic food operators now offering food-to-go and home delivery service, there is a greater need for premium, innovative and multi-functional packaging.  And with over 30 years’ experience in the industry, we have the perfect serving solution to accompany any takeaway meal.

  So, to conclude, I think it’s safe to say that the takeaway industry is reaping the rewards of the Irish Consumers eating habits and have quite an interesting future to look forward to in the coming years.

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