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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Launched in 2015, AMP Robotics applies machine learning and robotics technology to the challenges of the recycling problem.
Throughout the world, recycling operations are dependent on manual labor to sort material. This is a difficult, low-paying, and dull job, with facilities facing issues with turnover on a daily basis. The AMP system helps deal with many of these issues.
AMP Robotics is a startup founded on the idea that tasks previously requiring the dexterity of the human hand or the precision of the human eye are now open to robotics. They are developing a system for the automatic sorting of recyclable material. Sorting and picking system can complete 80 picks per minute and the equivalent of 3 human shifts per day.
"AMP" stands for Autonomous Manipulation and Perception. AMP Robotics has created Cortex, a robotic system that can rapidly pick recyclable materials off a conveyor belt for recovery. This is enabled by Neuron, artificial intelligence that peers into the recyclable stream to identify individual pieces of recoverable material. AMP's products are designed to meet the demanding needs of Material Recovery Facilities: higher throughput, increase commodity revenue, better bale quality, and a fixed labor rate over time.
Cortex is designed to work in single stream, mixed waste, construction & demolition, and e-waste facilities.
It is characterized by Computer vision, that transform the material on recycling lines into valuable data. The vision system learns and recognizes material in the dusty commingled conditions of recycling facilities. Smart Sorting Robots, which sort at super human speeds with no expensive retrofit. AMP's Cortex robot rapidly picks recyclable materials off conveyor lines and place into bins for market. Controls Expenditures, where AMP Cortex provides a fixed rate for sorting stations while lowering labor rates and associated costs, which represent a Material Recovery Facility's highest operating expenses.
The startup has already won many awards, such as The Ecolab Award for Circular Economy Digital Disruptor in 2018, the NWRA’s 2017 Innovator of the Year award, and it was the Circular’s 2018 Tec Disruptor finalist. It has been featured by CBS. AMP recently partnered with Ryohshin to develop industrial automation for construction and demolition recycling.
He is the founder of AMP Robotics, a startup formed in 2015 with the goal of bringing down the cost (both economic and environmental) of recycling. His affiliations are DARPA Robotics Challenge, DARPA ARM-S, Burdick Research Lab, Doyle Research Group. He was Graduate Fellow at the California Institute of technology before starting AMP Robotics. Before that he was research assistant at the University of Colorado and Northwestern University.