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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TBM was founded in 2011. LIMEX is made mainly from limestone. It is an environmentally and economically viable new material that can substitute paper and plastic (such as injection moulding products, vacuum moulding products, inflation products, plastic sheets and cards). Limestone reserve is abundant, and is a natural resource 100% self sufficient in Japan. In the world the limestone reserves are abundant as well, and due to its high recycling capability, it is nearly inexhaustible. The basic Limex patent has been submitted in 43 countries, and has already been patented in more than 30 countries.
Paper like product can be made from limestone without using pulp nor water. It can be used for books, notebooks, name-cards, posters and for many other purposes.
For the Limex plastic products: as of today LIMEX is made primarily from limestone and partly from Polyolefin resin. In order to prevent further micro plastic issues from happening TBM is currently developing biodegradable LIMEX, made from 100% biodegradable materials; limestone and bio-based materials.
Limex sheet can be recycled and upcycled with the following process:
Pelletize the residue of LIMEX sheet after manufacturing and printing.
Transform unprinted LIMEX sheet into LIMEX sheet.
Up-cycle printed LIMEX pellet into alternatives to plastic by injection moulding and extrusion moulding.
For the recycling, Limestone and Polyolefin can be "upcycled" together. The available recycling system in Japan can process LIMEX; it can be used with existing plastic moulding machineries and do not require a new machine specialized for LIMEX.
TBM has currently 1 plant and will open a second one in 2020. The first Pilot Plant is located in Shiroishi, Miyagi. It is not only a production base, but functions as well as a research development and human resource development base in order to found a strong base to expand the business.
TBM has received several awards in Japan and abroad. The Startup is seeking to raise a total of $ 27 million and Goldman SachsGroup Inc. announced in November 2018 buying a stake in the startup.
Nobuyoshi Yamasaki founded a Car Dealership at 20, which was the start of his career as an entrepreneur and successfully set up several businesses then after. In his 30s he set up TBM (Times Bridge Management) as he rose to challenge to set up a trillion yen size global company that contributes to the happiness of men even after 100 years, and to build a bridge to the future generations.
He received 'Reconstruction Award' of Japan New Business Awards in 2014, "Special Award" of Job Creation Awards in 2015 and 'Great East Japan Earthquake Reconstruction Award' of Japan Venture Awards in 2016.
Dr. Yuichiro Sumi
Before joinng TBM in 2011 as a Director for 3 years and then as Chairman of Board of Directors, Dr. Yuichiro Sumi had been Managing Director of Sanyo Kokusaku Pulp Industry Co, Managing Director of Nippon Paper Industries and became CEO of Venture Support from 1999 until 2011.