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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Their consultancy is based on 35 years of owning and managing branded merchandise manufacturing plants all over the world. They combine that knowledge with their expertise of how to get a property recycled commodity up-cycled into products they currently purchase.
Circular Solutions Advisors' diagnostic approach creates the fewest barriers for implementation by not having to change an established supply chain.
JT Marburger President and founder since 1989 of Incentive Marketing, Insignia Promotions, CorpLogoWare and Renew Merchandise which owned branded merchandise contracts for The Coca-Cola Company, CNN, MLB, NFL, NHL, NASCAR, NCAA, USTA, IOC, USOC, America’s Cup, FIFA. In 2008, Coke tasked JT to start making products from recycled PET bottles and in 2010 his company was recognized as one of the top 100 companies in the world to watch in the next decade by Think London. JT now runs Circular Solutions Advisors in which he shares his knowledge of the waste stream and manufacturing with companies and properties that want to build recycling circular economies.