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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Envirotech Waste Recycling Inc. (EWRI) has been geared towards active involvement in the pursuit to regain the world’s ecological intelligence and balance. They have partnered with providers of cuttingedge technologies, enterprises and organizations which advocate climate justice and risk reduction by providing new and efficient ways of deriving useful substances and energy out of biodegradable and non-biodegradable wastes.
The Philippines has one of the highest amount of solid waste generated in the world, and yet have no sustainable and effective waste disposal facility (Calica, 2009). Given the perennial garbage problems in the Philippines which harm the environment, waste management is indeed a necessary step to resolve and minimize all garbage-related problems in the country.
One of the popular products created by EWRI is the fully recycled school chair made from different plastic waste including Flexible packaging. This has lead to reduction in the plastic waste in the landfills. EWRI processes the following way:
Collection - They collect single-use plastics such as plastic straws, bottles, cups, junk food packaging and chocolate wrappers from different locations in a sandbag which is reusable unlike a plastic bag that is neither durable nor recyclable.
Shredding - The products are shredded out, sanitized and cleaned from any dirt and oil and poured into molds to create chairs.
Painting - The chairs are then painted, furnished and given to school authorities.
EWRI has also made several products from plastic waste and recyclables such as staircases and benches.
The company inculcates proper segregation of recyclable mixed plastic waste among the different communities they work with. They work hard to avoid soft plastics like packaging for shampoo sachets and coffee packs. They produce 100% recycled plastic products of EWRI Earthboards from non-biodegradable waste, using the tagline “We ReUse Your ReFuse.”