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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Apaga is a green platform that enables retailers and customers to turn garbage into money.
The problem of waste management is as prevalent in Armenia as it is in other parts of the world. Recycling companies in countries like Armenia have the capacity to recycle more waste, but the sourcing can be an issue. At the same time, many people want to protect the environment by recycling their waste, but just do not have the opportunity to do it well.
Apaga was founded in 2018 and wants to solve these problems, starting in Yerevan where users (individuals and companies) are able to order pickups for their waste to be recycled. When the waste is picked up, coupons from partner companies are given in exchange. These coupons provide discounts in the partner shops, restaurants, cafes, etc. The company is currently working with 500 households and businesses and have over 40 partner companies providing discounts to their customers.
At present, Apaga collects three types of recyclable waste: plastic, paper and glass. Since this is a paid service of regular pickups, there is no minimum amount of waste per pickup. However, the maximum for individual subscribers is 200 L of plastic, 100 L of Glass, and/or 200 L of paper. For organizational subscriptions the maximum is 600L of plastic, 500L of glass, and/or 600L of paper. Contrary to popular belief, recyclable waste has very low value, especially in Armenia. So low, that delivering it to the recycling plant always costs much more than what the waste is sold for. In most countries, income taxes pay for recycling. Their method enables people and businesses to get rewarded for recycling by receiving either discount coupons or green advertising. However, in order to fund part of the transportation costs, there is a sign-up fee for both individuals and businesses. The rest is financed by the EU and AGBU.
Apaga has been awarded as one of the top 10 winners at Climate Launchpad that is one of the world's largest green business competition.