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 2006, Just Salad aims to promote healthy eating across the United States.
Traditionally, salads are delivered in single-use plastics which seldom end up being recycled. Another common alternative is compostable containers which, although a more environment-friendly option, require proper disposal. Just Salad vision was to deliver healthy salads to customers as quickly as possible, while simultaneously reducing the amount of plastic waste generated from the packaging.
Once this problem was identified, Just Salad introduced a sustainable program titled the "Reusable Bowl" program.
The principle is simple and provide customers a good incentive:
For just $1, customers can purchase a reusable Just Salad bowl with their order. These trademarked blue bowls can be brought back in for following orders and reused.
Upon every reuse, the customer is offered free garnish or toppings.
With 20% of their customers now a part of the program, Just Salad saves about 75,000 tons of plastic waste each year. An increase in the number of people participating in this program could increase this number to about 100,000 tons per year.
Eventually, Just Salad aims to evolve from these reusable plastic bowls to bowls made from biodegradable fiber. Alongside this, they aim to run a 360-degree composting program with Bard MBA NYCLab.
Apart from this, Just Salad contributes towards promoting healthy eating and making it affordable with a "10 items under $10" policy. They also allow their customers to place an order on the app, making food delivery fast and easy.
With delicious food and a genius idea, Just Salad is pushing people to adopt healthier habits while doing their part for the environment. They are available in the US (NYC area, Chicago, Philly, Florida) and Asia (Hong-Kong, Dubai).
After having graduated from Colgate University 2003, Nick Kenner worked with a dietitian to develop recipes for healthy, delicious food. In 2006, he founded Just Salad, and in 2018 he was awarded by the Environmental Protection Agency as part of their WasteWise program