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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LIMM Recycling has developed a recycling system for polystyrene coffee cups through efficient collaboration, well-thought-out logistics and cooperation with research institutions.
The plastic cups are collected in a coffee cup box. These cups are then collected and recycled into a new, sustainable raw material. LIMM focuses on a cost-saving service for companies and organizations to participate in a sustainable economy. Thanks to their coffee box system, the volume of residual waste is significantly reduced, making the disposal of the waste much cheaper.
How does it work? LIMM Recycling delivers coffee cups in the color and size the customers want. Together with a metal cup tray and a box package, in which the coffee cups are deposited after use. The cups are kept hygienically and collected when the box is full.
At the same time, LIMM recycling will fill their customer's stock with new coffee cups so that they do not have to worry about supplies. The used plastic cups are recycled into raw materials for new products. This process is repeated so that coffee cups become part of the circular flow of reuse.
The used coffee cups go to a processing company that washes and shreds the cups. The polystyrene chips are then used as raw materials for various products, including clothes hangers and plant trays. The Association of Circular Friesland has awarded Empatec NV, together with LIMM Recycling, the winner of the "Friesland Cup 2017".
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Groningen Area, The Netherlands, Europe
Stage of Development
In Market TRL 9
Value Chain Impact
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