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 Dot is a full service bioplastic company with a wide range of sustainable materials including:
Wood plastic composites: Made from reclaimed wood fibres and either virgin, recycled or biodegradable plastic, wood-plastic composites combine the manufacturing possibilities of plastics with the aesthetics and durability of wood. These customizable composite materials are easy to work with, durable and can be made to achieve a variety of looks and feels.
Starch biocomposites: A USDA-certified biobased plastic that’s incredibly versatile and capable of withstanding high temperatures, starch-based composites are suitable for either rigid or pliable plastic applications. Our Terratek SC line lets you replace up to 65 percent of your plastic product with renewable materials.
Biodegradable composites: Starch-based biodegradables can help decrease landfill volumes and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. They are ideal for single-use disposable products. These materials may be rigid or pliable and can be customized to desired physical properties.
Compostable elastomers: Strong and durable, yet flexible, Terratek Flex is the market’s first bioplastic elastomer verified to meet both U.S. and E.U. standards for compostability, and tested by NSF Laboratories to meet the strictest international toy safety standards. The material has an exquisite soft touch, and is ideal for scenting.
The company's mission is to improve the environment in which we live by building a more sustainable world with renewable biobased resins and promoting their use through invention, creation and research.