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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Their depolymerisation technology manufactures PTA (Purified Terephthalic Acid) and EG (Ethylene Glycol) from waste Polyester/PET feed stocks, the two fundamental monomers used in the production of the polymer PET (Polyethylene Terephthalate).
Loop™ technology up-cycles the highest purity plastic from waste plastic feed stocks such as polyester fibers from carpets and clothing, colored plastic and opaque plastic. They are able to re-use colored plastic, a barrier that has until now, reduced thee capability of traditional recycling methods to fulfill the promises of a truly circular economy.
Their patented zero-energy process breaks down waste plastic into its monomers (individual molecules) which are mono-ethylene glycol ("MEG") and dimethyl terephthalate ("DMT"). Without using heat or pressure, the monomers are purified, removing all solid waste and contaminants such as coloring, additives and organic or inorganic impurities. The purified DMT and MEG are polymerized into Loop™ branded virgin quality PET plastic that meets FDA requirements for food-grade packaging.
Loop is listed on the American stock exchange and the NASDAQ Global Market. They have a joint venture with Indorama Ventures (one of the world's leaders in the petrochemical industry), based in India. PepsiCo and Loop Industries have signed a multi-year supply agreement for the food and beverage giant to purchase production capacity from Loop's United States facility, and to incorporate Loop's 100 percent recycled PET plastic into its packaging by early 2020.