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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Combining detection of color and enhanced material information for optimized sorting
TOMRA Sorting Recycling is a leading provider of sensor-based sorting systems, established in the market with hundreds of recycling applications. To date, they count more than 4900 sorters working successfully in 50 countries.
Their goal is to support their customers to optimize their sustainability and operational value.
Their machine AUTOSORT combines detection of color and enhanced material information resulting in a multifunctional system that optimizes effectiveness across a broad variety of applications.
The machine can process:
Polymer sorting: sorting of e.g. beverage cartons, PE, PP, PS, PVC, PET, EPS, ABS by type of material
Mixed paper removal: removing paper from a mixed input stream
C&D sorting: organic/non-organic sorting
RDF: producing an RDF fraction, with additional stone/ timber distinction
PET/PE sorting: sorting of PET/PE by color, e.g. light blue, clear,..
Wood cleaning: producing a clean timber fraction by removing painted and coated wood
Paper plus: producing a clean deinking fraction
PET bottle/tray sorting: producing a clean PET bottle fraction
HDPE/LDPE sorting: producing a clean HDPE or LDPE fraction
Metal removal: removing all metals
With TOMRA Sorting’s groundbreaking and patented FLYING BEAM® technology, AUTOSORT offers continuous calibration which means substantially less downtime and greater output stability compared to their nearest competitors. Their FOURLINE technology leads to higher performance and low energy consumption, confirming that it is indeed possible to protect environmental resources while reducing operating costs. The flexible and universal modular system can easily be integrated into sorting plants, and meets a wide variety of sorting needs including the single stream, packaging, paper, and household waste.
AUTOSORT by TOMRA
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Mülheim-Kärlich, Germany, Europe
Stage of Development
In Market TRL 9
Value Chain Impact
Segregation / Sorting
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AUTOSORT by TOMRA
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