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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Designer Maria Elena Pombo has launched Fragmentario, a Brooklyn-based studio that showcases colored fibres and textiles produced from naturally sourced dyes.
Fragmentario offers plant dye kits with instructions to produce dye from onion skins, turmeric, cinnamon, rose buds and avocado pits among others. Dried flowers like chamomile, marigold, hibiscus and safflower are also used. The resultant dyes are used with mordants to brightly colour fabrics like chiffon, linen, silk, cotton, organza, hemp and more.
Fragmentario hosts a number of workshops teaching interested individuals the art of natural dyeing. The studio also offers custom dyeing services. Products can be purchased through an online store. The studio first launched custom designer collections in 2018.
A fashion design graduate from Parsons School of Design and former designer at Michael Kors, she has taught workshops in Italy, Spain, Germany, and NYC, and has a diverse clientele in the film, music, and design industries.