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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Banyan Nation is a high technology social venture that takes an integrated approach to recycling & waste management by innovating across the entire value chain right from pre-sorting and collection to post-sorting and processing. Its mission is to minimize environmental impacts through technology solutions that encourage source segregation and maximize landfill diversion.
They have developed 2 technologies:
Their proprietary plastic cleaning technology converts collected post consumer and post industrial plastic waste into high quality recycled granules – Better Plastic™ – comparable in quality and performance to virgin plastic. Banyan Nation's proprietary plastic cleaning technology removes inks, coatings, and other contaminants using environment friendly detergents and solvents to supply near virgin quality recycled granules to brands, a first in the Indian industry which is highly informal and low tech. Banyan Nation pioneered closed loop recycling initiatives with India's leading automotive company (making new bumpers from discarded ones) and a global cosmetics company (making new bottles from discarded ones), establishing circular economy leadership in the automotive and beauty sector respectively, that can be extended to other industries.
Their award winning data intelligence platform integrates thousands of informal recyclers into their supply chain and also helps cities manage their waste more effectively. Banyan Nation is one of the first companies in the country to use mobile, cloud and IoT to integrate thousands of informal sector last mile collectors into its supply chain to recover post consumer as well as post industrial plastic waste. The platform has now been extended to help cash-strapped municipalities understand waste flows through their cities and use a data-centric approach to make waste management more efficient, effective, and economical.
Seasoned business and technology professional. Prior to Banyan, Mani was with Qualcomm Inc. involved in the design, development, testing and commercialization activities of mobile technologies. Mani holds dual MBAs from UC Berkeley (Haas) and Columbia Business Schools, an MS Degree in Electrical Engineering from University of Delaware and a BTech Electrical Engineering from NIT, Warangal.
Co-Founder & COO
Technologist with global experience. Prior to Banyan, Raj worked at Voltari Corp. building teams, architecting technical solutions, designing, developing, and driving customer experience for $100Million+ products with 10Million+ customers. He holds an MS Degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Delaware.