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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Green Cell Foam, a product of KTM Industries Inc., is a biodegradable packaging material manufactured from non-GMO cornstarch.
The company aims at providing a sustainable alternative to packaging by eliminating the use of Polystyrene, Polyurethane, and Polyethylene.
Made from non-GMO cornstarch, Green Cell Foam is completely biodegradable and exhibits the same performance as commercially used plastic alternatives. Green Cell Foam requires 70% lesser energy and 80% lesser greenhouse gases in manufacturing.
Green Cell Foam can be disposed of in various ways:
Burning: safe for burning in fireplaces and fire pits.
Dissolve in Small Pieces: the material can be broken down into smaller pieces and washed at the sink.
Dissolve in Large Pieces: the material can be broken as large pieces and dissolved in a bucket of water.
Compost: biodegrades in a moist environment within 60 seconds.
The non-GMO cornstarch is annually renewable making it an effective raw material. Once dissolved, the water can be poured into plants to act as a source of nutrients.
Green Cell Foam can be used as packaging for a number of applications, like aircraft parts, hydraulic pumps, pharmaceuticals, perishable foods and automotive parts among others.