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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The Dung Beetle Project is an international outreach programme working to create a sustainable new economy powered by plastic. It is a trailer-mounted movable art stage sculpted of recycled metal that tranforms plastic trash into electrical power and liquid fuels.
The Dung Beetle Project is working with communities around the world to divert waste plastic from landfills and the ocean and turn it into valuable energy people can use today. To make the technology more accessible to the public, they dressed it up with an art sculpture and turned it into a symbol of change. Their art is a Dung Beetle pushing the Earth, made from recycled steel. The sculpture houses a hi-tech gasification system that transforms plastic trash into electrical power.
The prototype serves to inspire people to copy the free gasification technology. It also uses this disruptive technology to educate and support communities using this exciting platform for positive messaging, including conscious music, applied earth sciences and other crucial environmental successes.
The Dung Beetle Project has attracted a global team of collaborators including NGOs, universities, municipalities, entrepreneurs and scientists all working towards a common goal of addressing one of our planet’s most pressing environmental issues – plastic waste.
They believe that their bespoke technology is not the only solution to the global plastic problem so they encourage a three-pronged approach that includes continued recycling of high value plastics, a long-term goal of total plastic eradication from the consumer chain and gasification of existing trash. Until plastic pollution is no longer an issue, the Dung Beetle Project will continue to address this global crisis by driving forward a viable new economy powered by plastic.