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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Bucher Emhart Glass has developed ID Mark, a unique system for coding glass bottles, allowing traceability through the complete life cycle.
A highly advanced hot end laser marking system, ID Mark will allow the creation of maximum value along the supply chain, for glass producers, fillers and end consumers. ID Mark makes each bottle uniquely identifiable, with information such as the manufacturing time and line code.
The system works in a few simple steps:
Right after production, the hot glass bottles are passed through the laser beam.
The CO2 laser marks each bottle with a unique code.
The codes are programmed from the user interface directly, or through an offline simulator.
The ID Mark system can print alphanumeric characters, data matrix codes and even a combination of these. The printed code makes the bottle uniquely identifiable throughout its life cycle.
This offers a number of benefits like process optimization, anti-counterfeiting, distribution management and the management of returnable bottles. This creates value for glass producers and fillers. The codes can also be scanned using a mobile phone application. This allows the ID Mark system to also be used for end-consumer benefits. The current marking will however need optimization to be easily readable.
Bucher Emhart Glass has also developed ID Read, which is an integrated software to read the data matrix codes printed on the bottles. The speed of this system is about 800 bottles per minute. ID Read verifies machine readability of the ID Mark and also stores inspection results to the unique bottle ID.
ID Mark and ID Read are aimed at improving traceability in the glass industry by attaching all production and inspection information unique to each bottle.