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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Recycled Island Foundation introduces CLEAR RIVERS; a new brand name to outline our all-inclusive approach to marine litter.
Recycled Island Foundation (RIF) is brought to life in 2014 to find an active approach to worldwide plastic pollution in open waters. To make our actions and ambitions more clear, CLEAR RIVERS is registered and launched in 2020.
CLEAR RIVERS outlines the five elements of our approach towards plastic pollution;
Cleanups are organized to remove plastic litter from rivers and to involve the local population and organizations.
Litter Traps are installed in the Port of Rotterdam, the Port of Brussels and the Indonesian island Ambon. We are expanding our approach internationally, to retrieve marine litter in rivers worldwide before it reaches the seas and oceans.
Education about plastic pollution, the causes, and needed solutions are given at all levels of the educational system. The problem is tackled at its core with this long-term approach, by educating the next generation of professionals to resolve this issue within the next decade(s).
Awareness is increased amongst local population and organizations, to involve them in acting towards a plastic-free sea.
Recycling is used to give new value to the plastic litter we retrieve, and to prevent the plastics to be littered again. Durable new products are created with recycled plastics, such as our Litter Traps, a floating park, furniture and building materials for the improvement of housing situations in less developed areas.
Together, this creates an overall, all-inclusive approach towards marine litter.
Although CLEAR RIVERS is new as a brand, the organization benefits from five years of experience in plastic retrieval, recycling and education. In Rotterdam (the Netherlands), Brussels (Belgium) and Ambon (Indonesia), successful projects are already ongoing with Litter Traps, cleanups, education and a range of circular products developed such as Litter Traps, a floating park, furniture, and building materials.
CLEAR RIVERS is a brand name of Recycled Island Foundation, a registered non-profit organization in the Netherlands.