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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The founders of Les pailles have created their website to offer professionals, food groups and fast food chains a large variety of alternatives to plastic straws at an interesting prices on the market.
500 millions of straws are used everyday in the USA and 1 billion in the world. The plastic straws are raising issues as a lot of them end up polluting our lands and oceans. Regulations are put in place to counter this issue.
The founders of this startup took inspiration from the Balinese to create biodegradable and reusable straws to limit plastic waste. They have selected a large portfolio of sustainable options:
Biodegradable: from white paper, wheat, apple or even avocado.
Reusable straws: from bamboo, glass, inox, reed, silicone.
The startup even offers a customization service for companies that want it. They are also supporting the association Surfrider to educate consumers.