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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First Mile is a leading recycling company working with 25,000 businesses in London and Birmingham. They collect waste and ensure proper recycling. The company has three types of recycling services to choose from: mixed recycling, food recycling, and zero-to landfill waste.
The waste is sent to state-of-art sorting and processing facilities, where up to 90% of waste is recycled. The rest is used in producing energy through incineration so that nothing ends up in landfills. The fleet of 60 waste haulers they use is also carbon neutral. There is no need to sign a contract. To start using their services, contact them, and order waste collection bins and sacks, are delivered the next day. Waste collection is possible 3 times a day, 7 days a week. Services cover offices, shops, cafes, bars, and restaurants.
The kind of waste First Mile collect is office stationery waste, batteries, food, coffee, bottles of any material, containers, cardboard boxes, coffee cups, small electrical (such as keyboards, monitors, wires), printer cartridges’, batteries, fluorescent tubes and bulbs (hazardous materials).
For transparency, they provide detailed reporting on collections and their processing so that clients know what has happened to their waste. Bruce Brately is the CEO, and he founded First Mile in 2004. First Mile Company was voted as one of the 1000 companies to inspire Britain in 2016 by the London Stock Exchange.