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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Dsposal Ltd was founded in 2016 with a vision to revolutionise the waste industry by using technology to connect waste producers to licensed waste facilities and to simplify compliance. The startup is developing the KnoWaste project and is part of the 5 companies working with the GovTech Catalyst to develop innovative digital solutions to tackle the challenge of tracking waste from its source through its treatment and final disposal.
The first is a simple, free to use waste app. This can be used by any person or organisation to deal with their waste correctly. They enable the whole waste job to be handled in the app. From picking a licensed waste company to checking their credentials and paying for the job when it’s been carried out compliantly. Everyone along the waste pathway benefits.
The second part of KnoWaste is the design of an open data standard for waste on which will be built a central database. Using a standard means that they can gather better quality data which will help them all meet the ambitions in the Resources and Waste Strategy. This single central database will connect the separate systems currently in use, providing the regulators with the oversight they need and the industry with the insight it requires.
Tom is responsible for the overall direction and product strategy of Dsposal. He oversees the technical developments, design and user experience of the platform. Tom has a love of tech, a passion for the waste and resources industry and is a self-confessed waste-data geek.
COO and Co-Founder
As the chief operating officer Sophie is responsible for the business operations at Dsposal, including overseeing the legal and financial functions, building our culture and heading up customer service. Sophie has been surprised by how much she loves the start-up life and thrives at the edge of her comfort zone.
Full Stack Developer
As the full stack developer Georgios keeps the technology running and builds the functionality to help everybody find the right place for their waste. Georgios is new to the world of waste but has graduated with a masters in cloud computing from Newcastle University.