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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EARTHWAKE is a non-profit organization fighting against the effects of plastic pollution in developing countries
EARTHWAKE has 2 strategic priorities :
To invest in R&D to find an energy valorisation of plastic waste,
To create social business in developing countries.
The Earthwake Association received the GreenDeal Trophy in 2018 for its support of the invention Chrysalis: a compact and robust machine capable of transforming plastic waste into diesel and gasoline.
The prototype of this invention is now waiting to take off. The machine will be developed mainly for emerging countries. Its design allows to fight against plastic pollution while providing energy to sometimes isolated populations. Simple in design, it will be easily reparable, even in remote areas. "The idea is to stimulate the collection of waste before they end up in the oceans with equipment on a human scale holding in a container and can create an economy," said Samuel Le Bihan, co-founder of Earth Wake association who have been financially supporting the development of the invention for 3 years, manufactured in a hangar of the high-country Nice in Puget-Théniers (Alpes-Maritimes) by Christofer Costes, a self-taught researcher of 35 years old.
Plastic pellets are fed into a closed reactor where they are broken down at 450 degrees centigrade to produce diesel, gasoline. The carbon residue can be used in crayons.
"A kilo of plastic gives a liter of liquid. It's separated between diesel and petrol," said creator Cristofer Costes.
With an additional financing of 50,000 euro from the local authority, the team is planning to create a larger prototype capable of converting 50 kilograms of plastic into fuel every 80 minutes.