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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It's Fresh! is a Food Freshness Technology Holdings company, delivering new freshness solutions to the grocery sector, based on consumer-friendly advanced materials innovations.
Around 30 percent of all food produced globally is wasted, and in the UK, it represents around £700 of wasted food per family annually. Several supermarkets have started to commit to tackle the issue, but an important part of food waste comes from homes and does not occur at a shop or supply-chain level.
It's Fresh! has developed a range of flexible packaging that absorbs ethylene – the natural hormone which causes fruit, vegetables and flowers to ripen. The filters purify the air around perishable produce, inside the pack from field to fork; helping their customers deliver fruit that is fresher for longer, thereby significantly increasing sales, and slashing unnecessary waste - right into the consumer's home. Ethylene absorbing filters, shelf life extension.
During trials using blueberries and strawberries, the packaging technology was found to improve product lifespan by up to 50%, resulting in a 40% reduction in food waste. Other trials have proved that the technology can improve the lifespan of cherries and flowers by around three days.
After three years of development, production of the packaging, called Infinite, was scaled up earlier this year. In 2019, Morrisons will begin trialing the solution for its berry packaging, with a view to a wider roll out among its own-brand produce line of the pilot proves successful.
CEO & Founder of Food Freshness Technology Holdings (FFTH)
Peter is one of the UK’s most experienced serial entrepreneurs. He is best known for creating Braitrim, the International fashion industry packaging brand. In 2010 he was one of FFTH’s first investors and by 2014 became its CEO, leading the management team through its highest period of growth to-date.
Simon co-founded Food Freshness Technology Holdings (FFTH) an umbrella business to facilitate investment into It’s Fresh! Ltd. He is part of the management team that has raised in excess of $20m to develop the business and commercialise some of its unique technologies into the worldwide grocery sector.
Lawrence has been COO and then CTO of Food Freshness Technology Holdings (FFTH).
Co-Founder & Consultant
In 2010 Laurence was the founding chief executive of It’s Fresh! and its parent company Food Freshness Technology Holdings (FFTH).