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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Ethique was started in 2012 when the founder, Brianne, began making natural beauty bars, in her kitchen, as an alternative to the 80 billion plastic shampoo and conditioner bottles thrown out globally each year.
They make premium, concentrated & sustainable beauty bars that replace conventional personal care products. They replace liquid concentrated products with bars wrapped in water-soluble packaging, using wastewater-safe ingredients, & are powered by renewable energy. They also are certified vegan and cruelty free.
Ethique(which is French for ethical) has grown out of a Kiwi kitchen into a fully-fledged, award-winning international beauty brand (even coveted by the likes of Britney Spears & Ashton Kutcher). They have developed over 40 products, export to the USA, Australia, Japan, Hong Kong and Taiwan and ship around the world.
Ethique is NZ’s highest scoring BCorp (the fair trade symbol of the business world) as well as both a carbon neutral and living wage employer. To put their money where their mouths are, each year 20% of their profit goes to charities fighting to protect the planet.
Brianne started Ethique in 2012 out of frustration with the disgraceful amount of packaging produced by the cosmetics industry. A qualified scientist, Brianne formulates the products and runs the show. Brianne has started and sold two other small companies but is now devoted to ridding the world of cosmetic plastic bottles.