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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Billions of cups are used and thrown away after a single use every year. While the manufacturing of each paper-based cup produces 0.24 lbs of CO2 emission, only 0.25% are estimated to be recycled after disposal. We are in an urgent need to shift our current cradle-to-grave paradigm. What if aside from being a material resource, nature could also take part in the process?
Crème uses home-grown vegetables to produce a sustainable alternative to disposable coffee cups. The studio grows gourds in moulds to create the biodegradable cups, which go by the name HyO-Cup. It claims that these cups can be manufactured on a mass scale, offering a more environmentally friendly alternative to paper coffee cups, which are typically lined with unsustainable plastic polyethylene.
Along the exploration, Crème identified gourds as a fast growing plant that bears robust fruits each season, developing a strong outer skin, and fibery inner flesh. Once dried, gourds have traditionally been used by ancestors as receptacles like cups. Crème explored this centuries-old craft, using molds to grow gourds into functional shapes, such as cups and flasks to create sustainable, renewable, and compostable products without waste. Crème used this method to create its own compostable vessels, using custom-designed 3D-printed molds.
Jun Aizaki is the owner and principal of CRÈME / Jun Aizaki Architecture, an acclaimed creative design agency. He is a registered architect in the state of NY. Aizaki moved from Japan to NYC in the early 90s and graduated from Pratt Institute School of Architecture in 1996. He currently lives and works in Brooklyn. He was formerly a designer at Rockwell Group (1998-2003) where his work on Alma de Cuba in Philadelphia won an IHMRS Gold Key Award for Best Restaurant in 2001.
Experienced Manager with a demonstrated history of working with creatives. Skilled in Human Resources, Business Strategy and Operations. Master's degree in Business from University of Sydney.
Motivated Studio Director/Office Manager with with strong leadership and relationship-building skills, and broad industry experience managing all levels of large-scale projects, including events, budgeting and administration.