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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CleanRobotics wants to make waste management smart. Their flagship product, the Trashbot™, will help corporations with dynamic and automated recycling. Welcome to a cleaner tomorrow.
Recycling is hard. Rules change from place to place, new regulations are frequently introduced, and people are confused. Waste management remains the one process that corporations cannot measure or effectively sort. The burden of recycling is placed on individuals, and it is hard for busy people to get educated and keep up with the changing regulations. In facilities such as airports and convention centers, this leads to large-scale contamination of recyclable material and low recycling rates.
CleanRobotics has developed Trashbot™: a robotic trash can combining next-generation robotics and sensor technology to automatically sort recyclables from everyday trash. The TrashBot uses cameras and sensors to scan items as they enter a waste bin. Advanced robotics and artificial intelligence are used to sort recyclables from waste at the point of disposal. This process drastically increases the recycling yield and improves its quality through reduced contamination. Other advanced features of the Trashbot™ help to reduce custodial costs and provide instant waste data via an online dashboard, thus allowing facilities to make data-driven waste management decisions. An optional monitor can be integrated for advertisement and corporate communication.
CleanRobotics was co-founded by Charles Yhap and Tanner Cook. The startup was featured in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in 2018 and has been:
The Winner of InfyMakers Award from Infosys Foundation in December 2015;
Part of the AlphaLab Gear Pilot program, one of nation's leading hardware accelerator programs based out of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania;
Accepted to be part of the world renowned hardware accelerator, HAX, in ShenZhen, China where they plan to rapidly prototype and prepare TrashBot for manufacturing.
They are now in small batch manufacturing and commercialization process.
Charles Yhap, is Co-Founder of Clean Robotics and has been the CEO since 2017. Between 2009-2016 he was Executive Director of Confere Inservitus that he founded. He has a Masters degree in Development Economics and International Development from the University of Pittsburg. Charles is an experienced social entrepreneur and has worked in the fields of human rights and environmental protection. He has 10 years of experience and thrives in mission-driven start-up environments.