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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ENSOis solving the problem of plastic wastes that remains in landfills for hundreds to thousands of years without being degraded. They have two productsENSO Restore and ENSORE Renew for this.
ENSO Restore is an additive that can be used with all kinds of plastic polymers such as PET, PE, PS, PVC, and with other materials like Nitrile, Rubber, Latex, Phenol, PP, adhesives and more. The additive is added to the raw materials when plastics are being produced. This is then made into bottles or packaging. If the material does not get recycled and ends up underground in landfills, the ENSO additive starts to work. It has enzymes that turn the plastic into carbon which attracts microbes that feed on the plastic. The additives increase degradation rates by 90%. So in a short span of time the plastics are broken down to their basic molecules and re-enter the circle of life. The additive helps in biodegradation in both anaerobic and aerobic environments. The product has been proven NOT to affect the properties of plastics or affect its shelf-life and does not degrade in air or due to UV rays. They are FDA compliant, and have ASTM D5526, ASTM D5511, ASTM D5988 and BMP (Bio-Methane Potential) biodegradation validation.
They also make ENSO RENEW, a renewable biopolymer which can be used instead of PE and PP. This ASTM D6400 certified bio-resin is made from agricultural waste material, is fully edible, home and industrial compostable, marine degradable and is semi-water soluble. Moreover, it has a 70% lower carbon footprint than normal PE.