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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COLIBA is an African start-up that puts technology at the service of recycling plastic waste through a Web application, Mobile and SMS.
Waste left in streets, gardens, and beaches contributes to the ecological degradation of the environment. They constitute a danger not only for humans but also for the flora and the fauna which live there.
Coliba's mission is to collect this waste upstream to stop all types of discharges into the wild and thus preserve the environment, ecosystems and landscapes. The recycling of this waste also makes it possible to limit the consumption of raw material, and in particular oil, in order to moderate the costs and the pollution related to its use.
The recycling of plastic waste is a promising sector in Africa. Coliba employs and train young Africans in recycling trades. The idea is to make each member of the team an entrepreneur, be it coordinator, operator or collector. They also participate in creating the link between the actors of the sector by providing the raw material to many local plastics manufacturers and thus develop a real circular economy at the local level.
They take care to collect and recycle plastic waste as soon as possible to limit the health risks associated with the natural degradation of plastic. The collection also limits the stagnation of the water and the proliferation of mosquitoes and therefore the diseases associated with them. A healthy, pleasant and sustainable living environment for all, this is their ambition.