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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Attis Innovations, llc was formed in 2017 as a wholly owned subsidiary of Attis Industries Inc (NASDAQ: ATIS). Attis was built on the fundamental business principle of simply “doing things better” and this manifests itself in Attis’s goal of bringing constructive change to existing industries through increased efficiency and innovation.
Attis is a company focused on the responsible and sustainable conversion of rapidly renewable biomass into every day, high-value products. Specifically, Attis has developed a technology portfolio focused on the recovery and valorization of lignin from rarely used sources of biomass.
Attis mentions that its lignin is unlike common kraft lignin because it is melt flowable, thermoplastic in nature. It appears an ideal candidate for use as a resin extender, foundation for biobased foam polyols, PAN replacement for carbon fiber, feedstock for various chemical extracts, adhesive, and more.
The startup's strength is its ability to innovate and develop technologies with the goal of reducing processing costs and manufacturing products that are better for the environment while still meeting demanding performance standards.
It has partnered with Iowa State University on a funded research program to develop carbon fibres for use in a wide variety of applications derived from lignin produced at Attis’s planned biorefineries. Iowa State University was identified as an ideal candidate to partner with for carbon fibre research and development due to their broad background in bio-based material evaluation for carbon fibre production. The partnership will involve a significant amount of laboratory and pilot testing of Attis's lignin by Iowa State University to maximize the amount of lignin in a finished carbon fibre formulation while meeting the industry standard for carbon fibre in automotive applications.
While Attis is currently small in size, it has accumulated a group of highly skilled individuals with extensive experience in small business start-up and growth, technology and product R&D, marketing and environmental policy initiatives. The goal is to leverage the decades of industry experience into rapid growth across multiple industries.