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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Kotkamills produce renewable products created from wood, a renewable raw material. One of their key brands is ISLA®, developed for the production of recyclable cups, which doesn't require to remove any plastic coating.
Coffee cups are an integral part of the modern quick paced on-the-go lifestyle. Billion of cups are used every year and bring a huge recycling challenge.
Consumers and retailers require sustainable solutions. Kotkamills’ ISLA® Duo is an easily recyclable cupstock based on dispersion barrier. Produced from virgin fibres, it makes the products safe and hygienic and designed to run on existing cup making machinery. They are procured from certified Nordic forests. The water-based dispersion coated barrier board is fully recyclable and repulpable. After use, cups made of ISLA® barrier board can be easily recycled along with normal paper and board waste.
Cups with plastic barrier are hard to recycle because the plastic needs to be separated. If recycling is complex, the valuable fibre material together with plastic waste ends up in landfills all too often.
ISLA® Duo barrier is plastic free and can be recycled with normal paper and board waste. This way the recycling process is made as easy as possible for both the consumer and the retailer enabling the fibre re-usage for other fibre based products.
This innovation has been selected by the NextGenCup Challenge team among 12 ideas that are pushing the boundaries of material and chemical innovation and sustainable design as they reinvent the fibre cup system.