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.
Thank you for your interest in Ubuntoo. We’re excited that you’re here! To continue, you’ll need an account with us.
The Global Ecobrick Alliance is an Earth Enterprise focused on energizing local and global plastic transition through the spread and support of principled and practical ecobricking. Its founder Russell was introduced to the work of Andreas Froese, who had been filling bottles with sand in Central America to make ‘bottle bricks’. Using this methodology, the Indonesian movement has continued to spread exponentially throughout the country through starter workshops, training of trainers, online trainer of trainers, and ecobrick convergences.
Ecobricks are building blocks created by filling used plastic bottles with plastic and other non-biodegradable waste. The bottles are filled to a fixed density and can be used multiple times. They are made by filling PET plastic bottles with cleaned and dried plastic waste. The bottles are packed with a minimum density of 0.33 grams per milliliter. The bottles can be filled with any non-biodegradable waste including plastic sachets, Styrofoam, wires, and small batteries.
Ecobricks have a number of applications in building structures for indoor and outdoor use, such as home furniture, outdoor benches, walls and houses.
The Global Ecobricks Alliance (GEA) has recommended techniques to avoid degradation of the PET bottles when Ecobricks are used outdoors, such as completely covering the bottles with construction materials like soil or mortar to avoid such pollution.
According to the GEA, Ecobricks provide local solutions to plastic pollution and avoids the environmental costs of throwing away plastic or sending it to industrial recycling systems, which is a toxic process that uses large amounts of energy.
The GEA has developed a manual blockchain based currency, called Brikcoin, which represents the plastic sequestered from the environment in Ecobricks. Its team has mentioned that it will release a platform for exchanging Brikcoins.
The GEA is active in Indonesia, the Philippines, South Africa, USA and the USA. It is accepting contributions and purchases of Brikcoins.