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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FORGO is an initiative incubated by a design studioForm Us With Love: one small paper sachet contains the essential ingredients needed to turn regular tap water into a full bottle of foaming hand wash in less than one minute.
It is a sustainable alternative to liquid soap that started with the aim of making personal care more sustainable with less. Liquid soap is around 80% to 90% water, therefore FORGO is the bare essential that is actually needed. The full bottle of soap is reduced to a sachet, that not only reduces the need for plastic bottles and bags but also reduces the transport footprint.
All the ingredients of the product are naturally derived and are considered safe by EWG Skin Deep® and 5 of them are certified by COSMOS (Cosmetic Organic and natural Standard). Its Wood scent is distilled from timber yard scraps in Canada and the Citrus scent is distilled from the leftover peels and pulp from organic juicing plants in the Caribbean. This reduces the use of virgin raw materials and upcycles waste.
The company partners with manufacturers who are artisans and innovators in their own right. The glass bottles are manufactured in Portugal, and the sachets are manufactured in Northern Europe. The coating of the sachet dissolves in normal paper recycling or composting stream.
The product is currently available in Europe and North America, it comes in different quantities of sachets with a glass bottle(s) (as a starting kit) for the hand-wash. It is available on the company's website and is shipped in recycled paper boxes and envelopes.
This solution can benefit the hygiene, personal care, hospitality industries, and households. The company is planning to work and rethink other everyday products in the future with the help of their design team and subscribers.