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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Go Box is a system that provides reusable food and drink takeout containers which eliminates the need for single use plastic disposables.
Throw away packaging litters oceans, piles up in landfills, and contributes greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. Usually the takeout food containers/boxes are made out of plastic. Go Box functions out of love for food carts, hate for waste, and desire to disrupt and improve the status quo — tens of thousands of single-use food containers passing from vendors to consumers to landfills.
The company connects food vendors, customers and private businesses around a sustainable, easy to use solution that keeps harmful toxins out of our environment: Go Box has partnered with mobile and traditional restaurateurs to make the reusable takeout food container commonplace in Portland. In a nutshell, Go Box functions as follows:
Individual customers purchase an annual subscription to Go Box through which they receive tokens that they provide to vendors in exchange for receiving their meal in a durable, reusable takeout container.
The customers then exchange their used, post-meal container for another token, which they can do at any of Go Box’s designated drop-off sites. The cycle is repeated as customers exchange tokens for containers and vice versa.
Food truck vendors don’t have dishwashing facilities on their vehicles, while health regulations prohibit people from simply bringing their own reusable containers to food trucks. That’s where Go Box comes in. For a one-time annual subscription of $21.95/credit, $30/2 credits (more options availables); customers can buy a reusable Go Box container when they get their meal at a participating food truck. Once the food is gone, food truck vendors can return their containers to a Go Box receptacle — and get a token in exchange. The next time a food truck rolls by, customers can use the token to get their meal in a Go Box. Go Box takes care of the pick up, professional cleaning, and redelivery of the reusable containers to the food trucks. GO Box containers are made from BPA and BPS free #5 plastic and durable enough to be reused up to 1,000x. Each container is thoroughly cleaned in a commercial kitchen to sanitize them before their next use.
Go Box has partnered with over 80 vendors in Portland, with 3500 subscribers and has helped avoid over 250,000 single use disposable containers from ending up in landfills or local waterways. GO Box has been one of the finalists of the 2017 Game Changer Award at OEN Entrepreneurship Awards.
After graduating in Management & Marketing from St. Edward’s University in Austin, Jocelyn has built her career working to develop and implement sustainable solutions in urban environments. Jocelyn acquired GO Box in June 2018 with a focus to grow the system throughout Portland and in communities across the U.S.