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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Cellutech is creating cutting-edge new materials all based around wood. Their expertise is in the research, materials and design process of bringing these revolutionary ideas to life. They believe “going back to basics” and redefining how a basic material like wood is used and will create a more sustainable future.
Cellutech's technologies include cellulose foams, cellulose spheres, superhydrophobic surfaces and transparent wood.
Cellufoam is produced from wood pulp, is renewable, biodegradable and produced in a green solvent-free way. It has various uses and can provide good material properties for your needs. Cellulose spheres vary in size to be customized as to how a client desires. They can be used in a range of industries such as food, medical, cosmetics and much more. As non-toxic and biocompatible they are a great alternative to plastic.
Magnetic cellulose is nanocellulose and magnetic nanoparticles. WWSC has used the material to make loudspeakers. They are stable in water, have a lot of strength and surface area.
Transparent wood is a wood polymer composite with the same strength as wood but transparent. Good for construction, solar cells, heat shielding and light transmitting structures.
Superhydrophobic is a water repellant and non-toxic material used for various designs.
Xyloglucanis hemicellulose and absorbs cellulose fibers. It is made from tamarind kernel – a waste product.
Åsa Ek is the CEO of Cellutech AB. She has an M.Sc. in Polymer Chemistry from KTH Royal Institute of Technology. Åsa has many years of experience within R&D working for GE Healthcare and as Section Manager at SweTree Technologies. She became Development Manager for Cellutech from the start of the company in 2012.