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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Belgian company Goodless has introduced reusable cups as well as the necessary technology and tools to use the system efficiently within any organization, no matter how small or how large it may be.
The plastic waste mountain that remains after a festival or event is unfortunately a familiar image. The use of disposable cups is contributing to this excessive amount of waste. With Goodless and the SmartCups, the founder Sander Van Waes is providing an innovative solution.
The Smart Cups are made of polypropylene, and contain an RFID chip which gives each cup a unique identity. This allows the cups to be linked to personal accounts for electronic payments, allowing effortless cashless transactions. A Smart Cup is linked to a user's personal account by placing the cup on a corresponding mat for activating the integrated chip. A Smart Bin is also included in the system, which serves as a deposit machine after the drink is over. The consumer is automatically refunded.
The Smart Cup System works in a few simple steps:
Customers must link their personal account to an electronic carrier, allowing cashless payments for their drinks and the Smart Cup.
The Smart Cup is placed on the reader mat, which links the Cup's chip to the specific customer's account.
The customer is charged for their chosen drink, along with a guarantee deposit for the Smart Cup.
Once the drink is over, the customer can return the empty Smart Cup to the Smart Bin.
The Smart Bin scans the chip again to identify the associated customer account, after which the guarantee deposit is refunded.
Smart Cups offer a number of benefits to both brands and consumers:
Staff: Goodless offers automatic stacking and a personal dishwashing service eliminating the need for staff.
Digital Payments: This prevents any errors in transactions.
Automatic Registration: Registering every step from payment to credit prevents transaction errors.
Time: Smart Cup prevents the need to wait in long queues.
Full Registration: The software tracks consume insights, providing information on the number and type of drinks consumed.
Companies and events can rent unbranded cups or get branded cups for free as they contain an imprint of one of the Goodless' partners. There is then only a washing fee to pay for. The company also rent and sale reusable food packaging.
The company works in partnership with Unilever, Hello Bank, klj, StuBru and more.