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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ComPlast is a small company in New Zealand led by Chris and Lesa Heaton who manufacture biodegradable bags. Their aim, through their fully compostable, 100% natural products, is to make a significant contribution to advancing the zero waste.
They are an environmentally sustainable solution to the current petroleum based plastic bag problem the world is facing. When ComPlast bags are combined with the use of reusable BYO shopping bags, they provide a sustainable and convenient solution.
ComPlast bags are made primarily from cassava root, a natural organic starch. They do not leave any chemical trace elements behind following degradation in the soil, rivers, sea or air. They produce no harmful, long lasting micro plastic particles.
Made from cassava root - which is an all natural starch - vegetable oil and vegetable based polymer, and tested to be 99.5% organic matter.
Decomposes back to nature with bio-degradation tested at a rate of 100% in 180 days in controlled composting and 84% in 84 days in controlled composting.
Dissolves in the sea and rivers, tested at a rate of 81% within 133 days in sea water and 90% within 141 days in river water.
Non-toxic - passing all plant toxicity tests. (Tests EN13432 and OECD 423)
Produces no harmful or long lasting micro-plastic particles as there are NO petroleum, chemicals or added minerals causing micro-plastic formation during degradation.
Hewitt brand just recently introduced her own answer to recyclable packaging, using ComPlast as package for its Season Six" collection.