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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Bantam Materials International in collaboration with Oceancycle has developed a tracking system for products manufactured using certified ocean-bound plastic materials.
Oceancycle provides certification for materials at bottle aggregation sites, in at-risk ocean environments, to document them through the supply chain. Bantam manufactures a product line of rPET flakes and pellets using ocean-bound plastic waste. Through the partnership, both companies aim to provide complete traceability of Bantam's rPET products using Oceancycle's certification of the materials.
Ocean bound plastic is the term given to any plastic waste found within 50 km distance of ocean coastline. According to experts, an at-risk ocean area is any regional area which lacks waste management, suffers from overpopulation and where plastic pollution poses a serious threat to wildlife. Through the Certified Ocean Bound Plastic collaboration, Bantam aims to allow tracking the rPET materials back to at-risk areas such as SouthEast Asia, the Galapagos, the Mediterranean, and the Caribbean.
Bantam uses ocean-bound plastic to produce a line of rPET products like:
With Certified Ocean Bound Plastic, Bantam and Oceancycle allow tracking of materials used to make these products. Tracking is allowed at all points of the supply chain, mainly:
Additionally, the collaboration allows tracking through purchasing notes, delivery notes, scale trucks, dedicated controllers.
Through the system, customers, brands, and partners can trace the materials used for the rPET products back to the at-risk ocean areas from where the plastic waste was sourced.
Bantam also provides auditing and quality check services of its products ensuring compliance with standards and application requirements.
The company sells its products into developed economies like those in the UK, Europe, North America, and Australia.
All Bantam products are in compliance with FDA, REACH and EFSA standards.