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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ALUSID aim to turn low value materials destined for landfill into beautiful surface products for use by architects and designers. The company aims to be a leader in the supply of premium engineered sustainable architectural materials and remains at the forefront of this growing sector through continuous research and development. ALUSID is always searching for new waste materials to make their unique surface from.
ALUSID are a spin out company from the University of Central Lancashire. The company was born from a research project led by Professor David Binns and Dr Alasdair Bremner that was originally funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). They work with local company Recycling Lives, a Queens award winning company to make unique products and surfaces for interiors and exteriors from recycled materials including glass, ceramic and other mineral additives, none of their products are less than 96% recycled and can be recycled themselves when they come to end of their lives.
Their unique products are between 98%-100% recycled materials, and they can control the colour tone and texture of the material to create a genuine alternative to imported natural stone products. The low environmental impact production process, uses no chemicals or resin binders and the manufacturing process produces zero waste, this means the products will be used and enjoyed for years and decades to come.
They produce all of the surfaces in their factory in Preston, Lancashire. The materials are sourced from a range of industries and sources, all within 120 miles of their factory in Preston, Lancashire. The only thing they add to the materials are colours. Approximately 60% by weight of the materials used are destined for landfill or for very low value applications.
Crafted from recycled glass and porcelain, SilicaStone is sintered to create beautiful surfaces. SilicaStone is a unique material able to be cast in large surfaces up to 40mm thick from tiles and bricks all the way up to 2.4m x 1m Solid Surfaces. The different kinds of Silicastones they produce are:
Strata: Their first product, designed to be used in a variety of interior and exterior applications from major commercial projects to smaller residential situations.
Incline: Their newest and largest bonded surface product. Designed for use on larger projects, this monumental product makes a significant aesthetic statement within any project.
Weave is an exciting modular product designed for interiors and exteriors. It's a unique, deep relief tile that adds dramatic texture to a feature wall in any project, large or small.
Solid: Safe to use in outdoor environments these ALUSID furniture are created by combining their unique surfaces with heavy duty steel hairpin legs. The furniture is made from the same material as their wall surfaces, but they hand polish each surface by hand. They are heavy, 100% frost proof and 100% UV stable.
The company has won many awards- including Global Awards 2016, Mixology Winner, Winners of Homes and Garden Designer Award- Shortlisted (2016), and Surface Design Show (2017).
Alasdair has been with Alusid for over 3 years and instrumental in setting up the prodction facility. He went to University of Central Lancashire for his degree of PhD in Refractory Concrete/Ceramics from 2004 – 2008.