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.
Launched in 2017, Afresh Technologies is an AI-powered platform regulating the supply chain management in the fresh food industry. The platform aims to minimize losses incurred from wastage and increase the number of fresh items on store shelves.
In the U.S.A., an estimated $18 billion worth of food is discarded each year. The wasted food items end up in the landfills, posing a threat to public health and safety. Continued food wastage on a large scale also contributes to the global crisis of hunger and malnutrition. Most of the items discarded are fresh, easily perishable foods, such as dairy, meat and produce. Fresh food items are difficult for stores to regulate owing to differences in expiry dates, ease of damage, and varying quality. Using traditional methods of human estimation, grocery stores discard an estimated 8% of fresh foods.
Through the Afresh platform, stores involved in the pilot project have cut down on their food wastage by 50%, consequently saving on revenue loss.
With their platform, Afresh aims to regulate this unpredictability for fresh food stores using advanced technology:
A machine-learning algorithm predicts the amount and date of delivery of a product, based on inventory details fed in by the store. This is done on a daily basis to prevent unnecessary food wastage by allowing the store to supply only as much of a product as the demand requires.
Customer insights picked up by the software are used to analyze seasonal demand changes of a particular product and advise the store to stock up on higher amounts of it.
Human-in-the-loop AI allows the platform to seamlessly fit into a store's existing machinery.
Afresh aims to advance these insights and allow prediction of sales of a particular product based on its growth rate and climatic conditions.
The company has completed a $6.1 million Series A round of financing in 2019.
Nathan is an alumnus of Stanford University, having graduated in Mechanical Engineering. He also holds an MBA from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. He is a co-founder at Afresh Technologies.