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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Koepala is a food packaging innovation company who specialises in developing and testing licensed, ready-for-sale packaging solutions. They innovate specially designed solutions for the foodservice, food retail and packaging manufacturing industries.
By 2050 researchers estimate that our planet’s population will reach 10 billion. The same research predict that over half of the population will live in cities and urban areas. Koepala team wants to solve the challenges takeaway meals will face in this rapidly changing, urbanising world.
Koepala's mission is to end the packaging wastage crisis. The team does this by ensuring their solutions fit in with the circular economy. Their sustainable and innovative packaging solutions save as well time and money – both for vendors and their customers.
Koepala is more than a design agency as the team experience comes from catering and retail businesses. Hence they really understand the industry.
Their packaging solutions combine cost-efficient mass manufacturing technologies and cutting-edge material innovations with a functional and ergonomic design, making Koepala the food packaging solutions of an ever-urbanising future. They hold IPs for the design and open mechanisms - rather than the material. That said, all materials they use must be bio-degradable.
Koepala is due to launch during the first quarter 2019 with a partner in Finland.
Janne is a creative professional with entrepreneurial spirit holding Bachelor´s Degree both in Food Technology and Packaging Design. He has worked in international packaging design project with many food and packaging manufacturing companies such as Amcor Flexibles, A&R Carton, Huhtamaki and Pyroll Group as well as with dairy and confectionery companies in the Nordic region, Russia and UAE.
With nearly a decade of experience in Marketing, Communications and Customer Relations, Ben is currently working as Marketing Consultant for Koepala. He started his own marketing consultancy company in May 2018.