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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Project Circleg is a low-cost prosthetic leg system designed for the needs and circumstances of amputees in developing countries. By using recycled plastic waste in combination with simple production methods, the Circleg prosthesis can be produced locally and cost-effectively.
The demand for low cost leg prosthesis is high in many developing countries and the existing prosthetic systems lack in terms of functionality. Project Circleg was founded to develop a solution with a valuable resource: plastic waste. Most of the worldwide produced plastic packaging ends up in landfills or nature and such landfills are often found in less developed countries (LDCs), due to the lack of official recycling systems. As industrial designers, Fabian Engel and Simon Oschwald are driven by the notion of using plastic waste as a resource for meaningful products.
Therefore the Circleg prosthesis is made of recycled polypropylene (PP) post-consumer plastic waste, which cuts the material costs down to 50%. It is reinforced with glass fibres to create a composite material that meets the high-performance requirements of a leg prosthesis. By using recycled plastic waste in combination with simple production methods, the Circleg prosthesis can be produced locally and be cost-effective.
They already have received several awards for this project, such as Winner of the Switzerlands Winner of the James Dyson Award 2018 and of the Swiss Student Sustainability Challenge 2018.
Fabian is an Industrial Designer. Through design workshops in India and Kenya, he developed a great interest in sustainable design, comprising social and environmental awareness. He has a bachelor in Industrial Design and did several internship as Industrial Designer prior to co-founding Circleg.
Co-Founder & Industrial Designer
Simon is a Zurich based designer. He sees Design as challenge to combine different aspects into a holistic system. This includes topics such as material, production, form and function, but also society, ecology, politics and ethics. He likes being challenged and loves working with different people.