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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Frugalpac is an innovative new business that designs and manufactures recyclable liquids packaging.
Around 2.5 billion coffee cups are used and thrown away each year in the UK but less than 1 in 400 – just 0.25% – are recycled. This is why the problem is so acute: conventional paper coffee cups aren’t easily recyclable as they’re made from plastic-coated virgin paperboard which doesn’t break down efficiently in the standard recycling process.
Frugal Cupsare the solution. They’re made from recycled paperboard with no waterproofing chemicals, their food-grade liner separates easily in the standard recycling process.
Their products are designed to be recycled through current standard systems. No special bins, no expensive closed loops. For instance, their headline-grabbing Frugal Cup is the first paper coffee cup that can genuinely be recycled in any recycling bin. At home, on the street, at work.
It’s a charmingly simple product:
a recycled paperboard outer
a food-grade PE liner
The two elements easily separate during the standard recycling process so that the paperboard can be recycled again and the liner can be recycled or used for energy from waste. It can be disposed of in ANY recycling bin: at home, the one on the street or the recycling bin in the coffee shop or office.
It's an innovation that has the potential to challenge the waste that is currently overwhelming the take-away beverage sector.