Over recent months, Westgate Labs’ unique compostable retail packs have been returning through the post to its purpose-built lab on the farm at Middle Stobswood.
The innovation is just one of the steps contributing to a reduction in its waste to landfill of around 75 per cent 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 the company to be responsible for the full journey of the product from start to end as everything can be returned to source.
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 opencast 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.
Claire Shand, director at Westgate Labs, said: “We had all sorts of concerns such as 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.
“Like everything, the devil is in the detail – such as ensuring that every additional sticker is printed on the right grade of material and with vegetable ink so that no nasties leach into the soil when they go into the bins.
“The environment is something that’s really important to us here at Westgate, so we continue to take every step we can to protect it.”