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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Rudolf Group has developed Bionic Finish® Eco, a hydrophobic textile finishing based on a fluorine-free technology.
Traditionally used textile finishing is made from Perfluorooctane Sulfonic Acid and Perfluorooctanoic Acid. These substances do not degrade in the environment and may prove to be toxic in nature.
The Bionic Finish® Eco textile finishing is designed to be water, oil and soil repellent and requires no perfluorinated compounds in its manufacturing, making it a greener alternative to commercially used textile finishes.
The technology is based on hyperbranched hydrophobic polymers produced by combining multifunctional components step-by-step. The polymers are made to construct multiple branches through specifically controlled synthetic reactions. At the end of a series of steps, the end groups are functionalized with hydrophobic groups, making the polymer naturally water-repellent. The hyperbranched polymers are attached to textiles using a specifically designed comb polymer.
The use of Bionic Finish® Eco offers a number of benefits like:
Water, oil and soil repellent
Suitable for all fiber types
No fluorinated compounds
No effect on breathability
High wear comfort
Cost-effective alternative to fluorocarbon resin
Bionic Finish® Eco has been adopted by clothing brand H&M and weatherproofing brand Sympatex.
Rudolf Group invites partnerships from the textile industry to implement Bionic Finish® Eco.