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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Filigrade is a Watermark Solutions Company, specializing in Watermark Embedment that improve and optimize recovery and recycling.
Given the multiplicity of polymers used in packaging, raising recycling rates based on a single collection stream depends on solving the challenge of efficiently identifying and sorting different plastics.
FiliGrade developed a 3D watermarking technology for plastics such as PET-bottles and trays, that provide waste sorters a unique method for selection. Nearly invisible to the human eye, the code can be read by a camera, in infrared, daylight or ultraviolet conditions. Covering the full product, the watermark’s readability is not affected by dirt, distortion or orientation. In addition, there is no chemical residue and therefore no impurities entering the recyclate.
The watermark is covering the full product so dirt and distortions have no influence on the readability.
FiliGrade patented technology makes a circular economy achievable.
Filigrade tested successfully their solution at TOMRA plant in Koblenz for reading watermarks on IML-tubs and transparent PET-bottles at a speed of 2 meters per second on a waste belt. The next step is to improve reading speed. The principle of the selection method with watermarks, printed or embedded is now approved as fully functional.
As well, if a consumer is equipped with the Filigrade Reader Application on his smartphone; he will be able to find out if the Filigrade packaging should end in the disposal bin or in a recycling bin.
The project "PET-recycling with watermarks" is being subsidized by the European Union via the programme OP-Oost.
After a very successful career in the financial and insurance sectors, Freddy Scholten has set his sights on investment projects of start-up companies, guiding early management teams from their initial success into a structured, clear visioned and well-run enterprise. Filigrade is one of his most recent endeavours. A young company with a proven and high-potential opportunity in the world of Interactive Packaging.