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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FinalStraw’s mission is to reduce plastic straw use by giving people a convenient, collapsible, reusable alternative. In doing so, they hope to raise public awareness about the devastating impact of plastic pollution and put pressure on restaurants to stop serving single-use straws.
The FinalStraw team came together in October 2017 to end plastic straw use with a game-changing, patent pending reusable straw design. Their kickstarter campaign raised 1.89 million dollars and started a global movement to reduce single-use plastics.
The outside of the straw is made from type 304 stainless steel and the inner elastic material is made from medical & food grade TPE tubing, and is latex free. It is dishwasher safe and therefore can withstand temperatures of up to 250 Fahrenheit, so it can be safely used with hot beverages. FinalStraw works with all to-go cups because the ends are durable and have been tested thoroughly by stabbing different types of lids. It folds up to the size of a car key and fits in a keychain sized case. It comes with a reusable cleaning device called a "squeegee".
They have been extensively covered in the media and have built partnerships with the Plastic Pollution Coalition amongst others.