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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Globechain is an online reuse platform that connects businesses, charities and people to enable them to reuse unwanted items within a global supply chain network creating a waste audit and social impact value for members.
They focus on collecting items from the retail, commercial and construction sectors. These could be in the shape of fixtures, fittings, office furniture / PCs, construction materials, refurbishments etc. They also collect impact data on social, economic & environmental impacts. Their efforts reduce waste, and makes use of resources sustainable, besides providing economic and social help. It has so far connected over 10,000 members who are corporate to charities, NGOs, social enterprise, SMEs and individuals.
This idea has spread to different parts of the world including USA, France, Germany, Spain, South Africa, and India. Each of these countries has websites designed for their regions. With the information targeted, Globechain steps in to help connect people who want to dispose material to people who need them. This way they hope to build a global supply chain, so that resources do not end in the landfill. The items are recycled and sometimes upcycled. They accept waste from retail, banking, fashion, food, construction, education and health. People who have waste to give away can register and upload details, and the receiver picks up the stuff at their own cost from the giver’s place.
They have partnerships with the UK and EU, and charities like Ellen MacArthur Foundation. Globechain was started by May Al-Karooni, in London in 2015. The organization has won the Nordic Innovation Launch Awards in 2017, and Mexico accelerator in 2017.
May Al-Karooni is the CEO & Founder of Globechain. She has worked for large FTSE companies from insurance and investment banking raising funds in excess of £80 million for venture capital, property and hedge funds.