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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Ecube Labs have identified several problems with waste management collection – inefficient collections, overflowing bins, weak diversion rates, lack of information, high emissions and insects/vermin. The solution is their waste collection technology through a smart waste management system.
Cloud based software are connected to sensors to monitor and enhance waste collection in a more sustainable way. It can make public spaces cleaner and reduce operational costs for waste disposal.
They have several products on the line such as CleanCube a solar powered trash compactor which holds up to 8x more waste than normal bins to reduce the number of times collection is needed. It's powered by solar energy and three types of waste management which includes a recycling mode. CleanFlex has a state-of-the-art fill level sensor that monitors bins and uses real time data through its wireless network connections. It is versatile enough to capture data on liquids and solids enabling users to optimize waste collection by 50%.
The entire waste management process can be monitored through the cloud network known as CCN to reduce costs, promote efficiency and capture waste data. It can be accessed at anytime through an internet connection. An extension of this software, CNNx, can help produce algorithms to get optimized operational systems.
Ecube has partnered with Vodafone, Intel, Verizon amongst many other companies.