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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Czech company Bohempia develops sneakers, apparel, and accessories made from 100% natural hemp.
Hemp is regarded as a highly sustainable material and is one of the strongest natural fibers. It has great tensile strength, moisture-wicking, and antimicrobial properties. Bohempia aims to utilize hemp to produce natural sustainable consumer products.
The production process starts with the acquisition of industrial-grade hemp from Romania. The raw hemp fiber is then spun and woven into yarn. The yarn is then knit and dyed making it ready for production. The conversion process takes place in the Czech Republic in an effort to localize the production.
The resultant products are designed, prototyped and tested at Bohempia's studio in Prague. Following this, it is ready for consumer sale.
The usage of hemp has several advantages over traditionally used cotton:
50% less water required for growth,
Less damaging to soil,
Requires less land to grow,
4 times the yield of cotton,
Requires 95% fewer agrochemicals.
The use of hemp makes Bohempia's products durable, breathable, moisture-wicking and antimicrobial. All the products are 100% vegan.
Bohempia produces sneakers, apparel, and other accessories. The upper canvas of the sneakers is made completely from hemp and the soles are made using rubber. The sneakers and apparel are for both men and women. Accessories like socks, belts, and bags are also available.
Bohempia products can be bought through the official website.