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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NOVOLEX established North America’s only closed-loop recycling program for plastic bags to be a part of this entrepreneurial movement. Bag-2-Bag® recycling program allows the company to partner with consumers, supermarkets, retailers and restaurants in a way that benefits them all—and creates a cleaner, safer world.
Until just recently, some people didn’t know what to do with used plastic bags, so they might have thrown them away. Over the past 10 years, the best solution for used bags has become to recycle them into new bags. This has led to growth in plastics recycling facilities like the NOVOLEX Bag-2-Bag® recycling facility HILEX POLY.
To assist customers looking for a sustainable solution to their packaging needs, the system put in place is simple:
The stores encourage customers to bring in used plastic bags from any source and place them in the collection bins.
Hilex Poly picks up the collected bags, gather them into bales and ships them to their recycling plant in North Vernon, Indiana.
The bags are sorted, washed and processed into pellets.
The recycled pellets are then used to manufacture brand new plastic bags. They also recycle wraps and films.
Hilex has distributed over 30,000 recycling points throughout the US. This process redirects millions of lbs. of post- consumer lm scrap from the land, back into reusable industrial packaging.
Bag-2-Bag process over 25 million pounds per year at the NOVOLEX North Vernon, IN facility and many times more through other recycling partners. In 2012, their industry collected and recycled more than 1 billion pounds.
NOVOLEX claims that recycling plastic bags and wraps is very cost-efficient and is one of the more cost effective recycling systems when store take back programs like Bag-2-Bag are used. A bag made with recycled content not only maintains excellent strength characteristics, but its cost is similar to a bag made with new plastic.
Some of Novolex's partnerships and certifications include Sustainable Packaging Coalition How2Recycle.info program, Biodegradable Products Institute, The Institute for Scrap Recycling Industries, The Society of the Plastics Industry, The American Progressive Bag Alliance and A Bag’s Life Program.
Stan holds an MBA degree from Georgia State University and a bachelors degree in Chemical Engineering from Youngstown State University. He has been a board member of various companies, his last stint being at Wind Point Partners.