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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AirSugar is the world's first Carbon-Negative Sugar, bio-manufactured using captured CO2. The process replicates how plants produce sugar inside their cells, converting sunlight and CO2 into sugar.
Sugar manufacturing puts a big environmental burden on the planet. This manufacturing process affects carbon emissions, land use and water use. Sugarcane cultivation uses millions of hectares of tropical land, taking over 1000 liters of water to produce 1 kg of sugar and emits over 500 million tons of CO2 worldwide. It's cultivation also disrupts an ecosystem's biodiversity.
AirSugar transforms CO2 from air into food grade sugar through bio-synthesis, using photosynthetic bacteria in a proprietary process. By replicating the photosynthesis process used by plants inside a closed bioreactor, this technology significantly reduces land and water use. Additionally, the process generates pure water and oxygen as byproducts. It captures more carbon dioxide than it emits, making it the world's first carbon negative sugar. When scaled up, AirSugar can reduce the dependence on cropland, allowing governments to redeploy land used for sugarcane cultivation to food production or rewilding.
This technology can be implemented in any country and manufactured in any facility using CO2, water and power as inputs. While ending up with the same sugar product we see in the market today!
The technology is currently in development and looking for funding and partnerships to scale up.