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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New age advertising startup Bagboard aims to encourage the use of reusable bags through digital incentives. The startup converts paper bags into advertising spaces, which, with an accompanying digital app, are then reused by customers in exchange for personal and social incentives.
An estimated 5 trillion pieces are currently polluting the oceans. 2 million plastic bags are handed out each minute. As more sustainable alternatives to plastic bags become available, Bagboard promotes the adoption of reusable bags through a digital advertising platform paired with consumer incentives.
Bagboard brings advertising and sustainability together with its innovative idea in a few simple steps:
The customer picks up a Bagboard reusable paper bag from one of the 2,000 independent retailers across London. Each bag is printed with an advertisement.
The customer installs the Bagboard app and scans the advertisement. The advertisement immediately goes live, and Bagboard contributes to plastic removal from the ocean in partnership with Plastic Bank with each scan.
The customer reuses the bag across London. With each reuse, Bagboard recycles plastic bags.
Additionally, each time a customer interacts with the advertised brand, they accumulate rewards on the app. The rewards can be sent to a number of social and environmental causes.
The bags are distributed free of cost and are durable, water-resistant and recyclable.
The bags can be recycled traditionally or returned to Bagboard to be re-recycled into an advertisement bag.
Bagboard provides a lucrative advertising platform for brands, with the process being low-cost, consumer-friendly and eco-conscious. So far, Bagboard has worked with Hello Fresh, Laundrapp, Zipjet, and easyCar among others.
With a million bags already distributed to their network of retailers, Bagboard launched the application in September 2019.