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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Digimarc Barcode is a proprietary method using patented digital watermarking for imperceptibly enhancing packaging, images and audio with data that is detected by enabled devices, such as phones, computers, barcode scanners and machine-vision equipment.
More than one million plastic bottles are purchased every minute around the world, but few are recycled. Current sorting technologies are unable to accurately sort different types of plastic. There is a critical need for accurate and reliable auto-identification methods for classifying and sorting various packaging materials during the recycling process.
Digimarc Barcode can be used in processing environments, on items with and without printed labels, to facilitate more efficient sorting of plastic waste. Digimarc is working with Tomra and leading consumer brands, such as Procter & Gamble, to revolutionize plastics recycling as part of the HolyGrail 2.0 project. TheBBC News videohighlights their efforts to reduce plastic waste.
Its barcode system is an inconspicuous 3D identity applied on to consumable products and can hold a host of information regarding the product making it also extremely smooth and resourceful to manage sales, product movement and retail waste. The codes carry UPC/EAN symbols and can be scanned faster than conventional codes. They carry additional custom content, which can be read by consumers’ mobile phones. It imparts a product with a "mind with memory" character and works by altering superficial colour qualities over the packaging turning it to unique readable information for scanners. Traditional barcode can only store as much information. From product composition to its destiny after use, a ton of information can be fed within these codes.
The added information on the packaging has several benefits:
Enabling "hyper-sorting" for retail and recycling industry
Enhancing supply chains
Improved and quicker customer engagement
Customer education tool and communication via smartphones: it can send recipes, coupons and cooking videos to consumers’ mobile devices with Digimarc-powered labels that deliver customized digital content.
Compatibility with traditional barcodes like QR code, UPC or EAN symbols.
The technology has been approved by global barcode standard organizations, GS1 USA and GS1 Germany and it follows the UPC code laid down by these. The code can be applied on virtually any surface and uses materials that can be recycled with the package. The company is committed to finding ways and means so that less of our waste enters the oceans.