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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b:bot is an interactive and smart collection and recycling solution for plastic bottles, with a unique “shredding and sorting at the source” technology. With b:bot, the founders of GreenBig bring an innovation with a mission to make the circular economy a reality on a large scale, combining profitability with a strong social impact.
Digital, interactive and connected, b:bot is both a platform and an innovative collection terminal for which 3 patents have been registered. Its French-made technology enables the implementation of a profitable economic model. The company claims to provide cheaper raw material compared to oil-based plastics, thanks to their bottle recycling model.
The process is simple for the customer:
b:bot indicates to the customer where to insert the bottle and the cap,
Thanks to a bar code reader and sensors, b: bot checks the size of the bottle, its weight and its composition. Both colored and clear PET can be accepted. If a bottle contains liquid, it will be rejected.
b:bot then shred the bottle into sorted flakes,
On the tactile screen, the customer can select a coupon of his choice, collect loyalty points on a card or mobile account, or chose to donate to a program that promotes employment and reintegration.
When the machine almost full (reaching 80% capacity), an alert is immediately sent to proceed with pick-up. In less than 1 m², b: bot can hold up to 3000 bottles, which hugely benefit the handling, transport and logistics. Thanks to its patented "shredding and sorting at the source" technology, b: bot transforms the bottle into well-sorted flakes, that can be sold for a price 3 times higher than a bottle coming out of a sorting center.
The company plans to deploy 1000 machines by the end of 2020, to recover 10,000 tons of bottles, and export it to other markets.
GreenBig's goal is to have more bottles in b:bot, less in the oceans.