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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Established in 2014 as a Bali-based social enterprise, Avaniis an eco-friendly solution for a wide range of packaging needs. The company name quickly grew from providing bio-cassava bag – a non-toxic, biodegradable and compostable alternative to petroleum-based plastic, to adding bio tableware, bio cups, bio food boxes, various PLA products and bio-poncho to their catalogue. Serving not only Indonesia but also for International market.
Avani’s products are made from renewable resources such as corn-starch, cassava, soy, sunflower seeds and bagasse - the dry fibrous residue of crushed sugarcane. All of these can be fully customized to meet business needs, while being sustainable without compromising on quality. We are aiming to help rehabilitate our ecosystem by offering sustainable disposable packaging and hoping to reduce the accumulated plastics from human activities anywhere around the world.
Avani’s growth and the journey toward sustainable businesses is made possible by all the eco warrior willing to participate on this mission. We believe that together we can help create a better living for us and the generations to come.
Kevin Kumala is an entrepreneur with an educational background from the fields of biology, medical and business management. With his eco-technology company, AVANI, he embarked on a mission to cut down global plastic consumption by offering a proven integrated eco-friendly solution to replace petroleum-based disposable plastic products.