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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The Golden Compound GmbH was founded in 2014 as a 50:50 joint venture between SPC Sunflower Plastic Compound GmbH and Cargill. Since its foundation, they have been intensively engaged in the development of materials with sunflower seed hulls.
Around 12 million tons of plastic material are processed every year only in Germany - more than in any other country in Europe. However, fossil resources are limited. For this reason they intend to avoid the use of mineral oil-based plastics wherever possible.
The Golden Compound has developed a series of innovative solutions by filling plastics with sunflower fibers. Their materials can be used in various compositions to replace PP, PP with mineral fillers, glass fiber reinforced PP, PS and aluminium with regard to the material properties and application requirements.
They use up to 70 % sunflower seed hulls as filling and reinforcing material for our compounds. These are obtained as a by-product of the food industry. Thus they are relying on an existing, quality-controlled supply chain and are not in competition with food production with the sunflower seed hulls.
Each year around 30 million tons of sunflower seeds are produced worldwide. The hull share is about 20%, that means 6 million tons. The most important producing countries are Europe, Russia, Argentina and China. They obtain their raw materials mainly from EU countries.
In October 2014 they started the annual production of 3,000 tons S²PC (Sustainable Sunflower Plastic Compound) and the marketing of their compounds in a newly built plant in Ladbergen, North Rhine-Westphalia. Since the beginning of 2016, they are a wholly owned subsidiary of SPC Sunflower Plastic Compound GmbH and are continuously expanding their production capacity.
At present, their portfolio includes Golden Compound pro (durable) and Golden Compound green (home compostable).