Westgate Labs celebrates first year of compostable retail packs

Westgate Labs said that the launch of compostable retail packs in April 2020 has contributed to a reduction in the company’s waste to landfill of around 75% over the last three years.

The innovative design of the new lab testing kits transforms the biodegradable product pouches into a return envelope to send the animal samples to the laboratory for testing. This enables Westgate Labs to be responsible for the full journey of the product from start to end as everything can be returned to source.

Twelve months on and the company said that thousands of pouches have now come back through the post to be composted on the family farm where the lab was founded.

Claire Shand, a director at Westgate Labs, said the intention is for the material to be used for new tree planting on a 73-acre nature reserve that the family are establishing on reclaimed open-cast land.

The site, Fen Letch, combines young mixed woodland, grassland and pond areas and already provides habitat for a wide range of species as well as contributing to important carbon sequestration.

Ms Shand said: “It was really exciting to see the first packs returned through the post in April last year. We had all sorts of concerns like would customers get the concept – would they find them hard to use and would the special compostable glue be strong enough to re-seal them for going through the post system? I don’t know if anything like this has been done before so it was all a bit of an unknown gamble.

“The returns are keeping our chief composter, AKA our founding director David Booth, very busy in the bins balancing the green and brown waste ratios to help them rot down well. It’s so satisfying to be able to deal with all this waste ourselves and use it for positive means.”

Four retail test kits are available in the range; horse worm egg counts, pinworm tests, avian worm counts and faecal sand tests.

Ms Shand added: “The lab is also well through a project to transition additional packaging from the website and merchant sales to more sustainable packaging options.”

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