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.
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In 1888, a man named Marvin Stone invented the original paper straw and patented his idea. That patent became the foundation for the company Stone later created—the same company that manufactures Aardvark® today. Stone’s patent and his innovative spirit for all things round and tubular lives on with Aardvark®.
Aardvark paper straws were re-introduced in 2007, in response to a growing anti-plastic movement. Restaurants, hospitals, and other services industries, the main buyers of plastic straws in the US, were forced to look for more sustainable, eco-friendly options. As a leading US manufacturer of small-size cylindrical tubing solutions, Precision Products Group Inc. was asked to create a straw that was more environmentally friendly. The answer was in their archives: Marvin Stone’s original 1888 patent for the first paper straw. Putting a modern spin on Stone’s original concept, Aardvark® was able to create a straw, using natural papers, that was "more sustainable and more durable than any other paper straw on the market".
Today, Aardvark® paper straws can be found at retailers and distributors that offer made in the USA and Eco-Friendly products. Aardvark® claims that they are the only paper straws on the market that are made in the USA, using only FDA compliant, food-grade materials, and are marine degradable and compostable.
Hoffmaster Group, Inc.®, a leading U.S. manufacturer of premium disposable tableware, acquired Aardvark® Straws in 2018 to add to its family of production facilities.