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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Agilyx is an alternative energy company that uses patented, proven and commercially viable technology to convert difficult-to-recycle waste plastics into valuable petrochemicals through a process that is scalable, versatile, and environmentally positive.
Plastics have become a very important material in all of our everyday lives. They provide low cost, high utility and convenience for everything from preserving food, facilitating communications, providing transportation and keeping us all safe. As plastics use has increased and become more of our lifestyle over the last 50 years, we have all done a poor job in helping recycle plastics to become a highly valuable renewable resource.
Applying its patented and proprietary technology, Agilyx reduces plastic waste normally destined for landfills, produces refinery-ready crude oil and styrene monomer, and creates community and local jobs with its distributed waste management and energy production approach. Their affordable, modular systems are sold to industrial and municipal waste plastic generators and aggregators looking to reduce disposal-related costs and increase plastics-associated revenues – all while meeting challenging environmental standards, curbing the need for new landfills, and extracting the often-unused and untapped energy contained within waste plastic.
The Agilyx Mixed Plastics-to-Crude (MPC) System is versatile enough to handle all types of plastic, but there are certain more favorable resin types and mixes that generate higher oil yields and superior quality end products. The MPC system yields a light sweet synthetic crude oil which is sold to existing refineries where it is made into valuable products for everyday use such as: gasoline, diesel fuel and jet fuel, fuel oil, lubricants and even transformed back into plastic. The Agilyx Polystyrene-to-Styrene Monomer system (PSM) processes waste polystyrene. The systems are sized in tons per day (TPD) that they can process: PSM 10 TPD and PSM 50 TPD. This system yields a styrene oil that is ready for refining into new products.
They have sold their technology to three customers in the United States who operate on a commercial scale and have completed an extensive Life Cycle Analysis on their process to measure carbon impact against traditional forms of crude oil extraction, with the results indicating a significantly favorable environmental impact.
Typical customers include the solid waste and recycling industry (both public and private), manufacturing, retail, automotive, government and other specialty applications. They currently hold several patents for both technology and process, and have additional patents pending.