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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Founded in 1982, Heritage Plastics is one of the oldest and largest producers of Calcium Carbonate concentrates for the plastics industry. Their concentrates have been proven to improve performance, lower energy consumption, reduce costs and enhance sustainability.
The largest problems faced by the plastics industry is regarding their usage of pure plastic resins and high energy consumption. Both are increasing concerns for the environment and our planet. Incorporating Calcium Carbonate concentrates reduces the amount of plastic resin used and also reduces the energy required in the manufacturing of plastic products. As a result, the overall carbon footprint of these industries is reduced to quite an extent as well.
Calcium Carbonate concentrates are used as mineral fillers in plastics. The concentrates are blended in with plastic resins to form a calcium carbonate/polypropylene hybrid. Heritage Plastics calcium carbonate concentrates (masterbatch) are globally known for boosting the performance of blown film, blow molding, blow molded pipe, thermoforming polypropylene and polystyrene, extrusion coating, and injection molding with the use of HM10®, PolyMax™, Hical™, StyroCal™, and PolyCal™.
To give an idea of the impact that using Calcium Carbonate concentrates can have, Heritage Plastics has calculated that if 400 million plastic bottles are manufactured in a year and 10% of Calcium Carbonate concentrate is added to the resin used it would result in the reduction of greenhouse gases by 207,000 pounds (nearly 94000 kilograms).
The properties of Calcium Carbonate concentrates allow polymers to heat and cool faster, significantly reducing energy consumption. Additionally, the concentrates assist in reducing emissions of greenhouse gases, reducing the use of fossil fuels, reducing air pollutant levels and lowering consumption of water.