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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DYCLE is a fundamentally new way of how baby diapers are to be produced, used and recycled, or rather upcycled when they are no longer a waste but a nutrient for plants, transformed into fertile soil.
Disposable diapers are a known environmental hazard comprising up to 10% of household waste. Each child produces around 500 kg of diapers waste in their first two and half years of life that translates into around 1400 liters of crude oil used for plastic components according to Dycle's estimations. The CO2 and methane gas footprints are high. Just the diapers impact is 12 tons of CO2 emissions per child, without taking into account transportation, packaging and other.
Dycle was founded in 2015 with the aim to create small communities of around 100 families each living in the same neighborhood, meeting regularly at the diapers' distribution/collection points, planting fruit trees together, living their lives in a more connected way. They believe that many people’s small change in everyday life can bring bigger changes, strengthening communities from the bottom up.
Dycle supports parents who want to take a sustainable approach by using compostable diapers, through a diapers collection system and converting diapers waste into black soil, which will subsequently be used for growing trees and plants locally. As a diaper is full of baby waste, it contains excellent nutrients in a form of phosphates and nitrogen, and it degrades into hygienic and fertile black earth.
Harvest from the trees could be procured for baby food and juice production, thus closing the nutrients and materials cycle of baby diapers. Dycle estimates that a 1000 kg of black earth can be produced from one year’s supply of diapers from a single child.
DYCLEhas already proved feasibility of diapers collection and soil production process with a pilot project in May 2015 with 100% compostable diaper inlays and in September 2017 with their DYCLE diaper inlays.
Dycle has received various awards some of which includes the Social tech startup and Next organic startup award winner 2016. They also won the first prize (from more than 1500 competitors) from the French Foundaton Famae that created a prize of 1 Million Euros in 2018 to reward innovation on household waste.
Currently implanted in Berlin, they are looking for people who would like to start the DYCLE system in their community and/or city.