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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Indonesia based foundation, Gringgo is a data driven trash tech startup that's works towards making smarter waste collection: a service that is more reliable, cheaper and greener and also creates more jobs and higher incomes for waste workers.
More than 10,000 tons of plastics are used every day in Indonesia. 50% of Indonesians don't have waste collection so dumping into rivers is all too common. Plastic ends up in their oceans and now they are the no. 2 marine plastic polluter in the world.
Gringgo initially started as CashForTrash in late 2014. Founded by a team gathered during Startup Weekend Bali 2014 at HUBUD co-working space. It was initially created as a platform for recycling aimed at local schools to make recycling easier, rewarding and fun. The concept has evolved and is now called Gringgo. Once the customers/investors buy garbage, Ginggo harvests the recyclables and sells them to factories and processors for recycling. They then share the profits with the customers/investors.
People living in Bali can see on a wastemap all the locations where they can drop their recyclable waste.
Users can check through Gringgo's website the list of recyclable items and the current prices. Gringgo also provides through its app a tool for residents to submit pollution complaints and issues such as illegal dumping and open burning of waste.
The foundation currently handles over 340 metric tons/month of garbage and have improved recycling rates to over 35%. Their aim is to recycle over 60% of the garbage they collect and expand to other villages across Bali over the coming months.