The term "biodegradable" has been used over the past few years, to describe plastics or packaging that could potentially be metabolized by microorganisms in nature, with complete breakdown to CO2/Methane, water and biomass. However, there is significant confusion and controversy surrounding biodegradable plastics since many suppliers have used the term to loosely describe their material/packaging without specifying the conditions under which the material would degrade in nature. For instance, some plastics (like PLA) will only degrade under industrial composting conditions, while some others (like PHA) can break down under a wider range of conditions and environments (industrial, backyard, marine). Given this widespread confusion and the misuse of the "biodegradable" term, many global government and industry organizations have issued guidelines to restrict or eliminate the unqualified use of biodegradable as a descriptor of plastics or packaging. These include the European Commission guidelines (European Plastics Strategy) and the Federal Trade Commission Green Guides in the US.
In line with such guidelines, Ubuntoo's recommends that companies providing biodegradable materials, products or packaging:
1.Avoid unqualified use of the term "biodegradable" to describe their products
2.Any claim of biodegradability should be accompanied by a description of specific conditions and environments under which the material or product will undergo degradation in nature
3.It is strongly recommended that companies provide globally accepted certifications or testing for various biodegradability claims (such as the BPA certification for industrial composting)
Further in line with the position articulated by the European Commission as well as major CPG companies, Ubuntoo recommends that "biodegradable" plastics should not be considered a solution for littering (or worse a license to litter). Appropriate collection and end-of-life solutions (such as industrial composting or home composting) need to be put into place to avoid biodegradable plastics ending up as litter in the environment.
Thank you for your interest in Ubuntoo. We’re excited that you’re here! To continue, you’ll need an account with us.
Founded in 2017, 4ocean is a purpose-driven business that aims to clean the world’s ocean and coastlines while working to stop the inflow of plastic by changing consumption habits. They are not a nonprofit, and believe in creating sustainable business solutions to achieve their goals.
The 2 founders Alex and Andrew launched the company by creating a handmade bracelet and promising to pull a pound of trash for every bracelet they sold. With the money raised from the sales of these bracelets, they have been able to employ hundreds of people to clean the ocean full-time and pull over 5 million pounds of trash from the ocean and coastlines.
Beyond their products, they combat the ocean plastic pollution through technology, cleanups, influence, and education.
They are developing and testing several types of skimmers:
4ocean Mobile Skimmer recovers marine debris from any waterway using this fuel-efficient vessel. Its articulating arms on the front guide marine debris onto a conveyor belt that leads to a super sack with the capacity to hold up to 220 pounds of debris. Measuring slightly over 22 feet long, the 4Ocean Mobile Skimmer team hopes to be a game-changer for cleaning the world’s oceans. The skimmers require just a few people to run it, and they think they will be able to collect much more plastic in much less time than with other methods.
4Ocean Solar Skimmer: this semi-autonomous marine debris collector for river mouths and waterways can be situated on a stationary pontoon platform. It uses water inflow to collect marine debris. Trash is transferred from the water’s surface to a 6-yard dumpster by conveyor belt. Full receptacles can be serviced and replaced by a one-man tender barge and transported to a municipal offload site.
4Ocean Harbour Skimmer is a shore-powered water pump that collects marine debris in harbours and marinas. The fully automatic floating skimmer can be secured to a dock or pier and connected to shore power to remove debris that accumulates in marinas. Three-hundred gallons of water are pulled into the skimmer every minute and up to 1,200 pounds of marine debris can be collected in the unit’s waste receptacle. One push of a button brings the mesh basket to dock level where debris can be unloaded. The Surface Skimmer runs on a standard 110-volt outlet and is a cost-effective way to keep your harbour or marina free of plastic and other debris.
The 4Ocean mobile skimmer is currently been tested locally in Florida and the team is planning to deploy several of them internationally.