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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Competitive Green Technologies develops bio-composite materials through a collaboration between end-customers, moulders, farmers and the University of Guelph.
The company wants to reduce the global dependence on non-renewable resources like fossil fuels from which traditional polymers are made.
They adopted an innovative approach to cost that in turn moved them to think of bio-composites as opposed to only bio-polymers. Using biomass or other such fillers to reduce total cost without compromising performance is the driving factor in creating a ubiquitous use of biomaterials.
Their current focus is on compounding bio-composite resins with up to 40% agricultural non-food, non-forest crops, and co-products of biomass industry and adding value to post-consumer and post-industrial plastics.
They have had toxicology testing on their bio-carbon and also its new carbon content. They also have received BPI certificationon their compostable range of bio-composite resins.
They have specific technologies for each category:
Their unique biomass technology is transferable to different crops and geographies worldwide including straw, soy hull, corn stover, switchgrass, miscanthus, coconut.
Their plant is located in Leamington, Ontario, Canada. As they meet the needs of customers worldwide, they will be looking out for joint venture / acquisition opportunities to expand their manufacturing footprint to serve local customers with local compounding capability using local biomass supply chains.
Mike is President of Competitive Green Technologies. Together with his cousin Dean Tiessen he facilitated the creation of the company's manufacturing plant in Leamington, ON. Sustainable supply chain of the all-important Ag biomass in the format these are needed for compounding is a key area of focus in biocomposite resins. Mike brings that expertise to bear on the success of Competitive Green Technologies.
Atul Bali is a passionate believer in a sustainable bio-economy. He helped Competitive Green Technologies in its formative year as a consultant. Atul has market access with leading moulders, end-users, OEMs, mass merchandisers in USA, Canada, Germany and India and uses his industrial bio-technology skills in promoting the interests of Competitive Green Technologies. Since the beginning of 2014, Atul, took over as Chief Executive Officer, and has helped steer its growth, working closely with Mike Tiessen.