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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AB InBev 2025 Sustainability Goals aim to deliver measurable results that positively impact communities and protect our natural resources so that future generations can thrive. To reach these goals, the 100+ Accelerator will host and provide funding to start-ups to solve challenges designed to create a more sustainable world for all.
One of the challenges is Circular Packaging. AB InBev is constantly on the lookout for new ways to increase the amount of recycled content in their packaging and eliminate weight and other components. They believe there is potential for creating completely, or near-completely, circular packaging across their entire supply chain.
They are interested in companies that have new technology or solutions for the following:
Post-consumer recycling (one-way cans, kegs and returnables) including more efficient and convenient logistics system, collection points and separation of materials on-site etc. with the aim of recycling more waste than we produce
New one-way packaging materials to eliminate/reduce plastic, increasing recycled content and/or new ways to incorporate our supply chain waste into our packaging materials
Alternatives to increase recycling and reuse PET
Coating for paperboard bottles that allows recycling and meets shelf-life quality standards
Eco-friendly, recyclable or biodegradable branding and marketing materials such as cups for events, furniture for bars & restaurants, racks, shelves, posters, printed material, textiles and clothing and any other material used to communicate
Logistics system to transport and use all trade marketing and branding materials in order to take advantage of reverse logistics, ensure trucks move product efficiently, reuse marketing materials in different points of sale, increase marketing materials traceability to know where and what are we using or storing and reduce, eliminate, reuse and/or recycle materials that are used to pack marketing materials
Shrink-wrap alternatives or reusable secondary packaging/shrink
Glass recycling infrastructure e.g. get container spec cullet glass out of the single stream recycling more cost effectively and cheaply, new scalable technologies in glass cleaning and sorting, solutions for recycled mixed glass (amber and green)
Replacement for virgin plastic crown liner
Plastic free or recycling solution for labels
Can of the future where lid and body are all made from the same alloy for 1-1 recycling and increased recycled content in can sheet
A multi-pack made of recycled paper
Visibility and traceability of input materials for packaging
Recycling and reuse schemes in distribution centers and wholesalers
Applications close: October 30, 2019
Program starts: January 2020
Demo Day: TBD
Better World Awards: TBD
Program outline for the selected startups:
Program will ick-off in person with AB InBev and the entire cohort at one of AB InBev’s headquarters
6-months of remote programming structured to accelerate the collaboration and growth of cohort companies in addition to a pilot/partnership with AB InBev
Global team champion dedicated to the success of the startups with AB InBev located within the zone
Access to a mentor network including NGOs, venture capitalists, successful entrepreneurs as well as our own AB InBev experts and executives
Up to $100k toward pilot execution upon selection
Opportunity for follow-on investment from AB InBev and its partners
Expense paid participation in a Global Demo Day for each cohort
To apply or know more about this challenge you can click HERE.