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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MacRebur makes products from 100% recycled materials which can be used as an alternative to bitumen in any Asphalt mix. Since Bitumen production requires fossil fuels, using waste plastic saves precious natural resources. Moreover, by using 100% recycled waste materials the company reduces discarded waste from ending up in landfills and in the oceans.
They sell this as a solution for potholed roads. MacReber uses selected plastic material in new processes pending patents to make plastic pellets or flakes. Once the best pellets have been made from recycled plastic they are fully melted into the bitumen within the asphalt mix.
This ensures that no microbeads are present in the mixture and makes the bitumen more stable and less likely to leach into rivers and streams. Their products include asphalt binder additives such as MR6, MR8 and MR10. The product enhances the quality of asphalt by making it last longer and is also cost effective. The pellet and flake forms can be used with existing asphalt plants. The products increase tensile strength, and improve adhesion and fuel resistance of asphalt. The roads made from them are resistant to deformation, rutting, cracking, and fatigue failures. This results in a longer lifespan of roads, and reduces maintenance costs.
MacReber’s customers are in UK and in Jamaica. They sell to asphalt manufacturers, municipalities and asphalt buyers. MacReber has won the Virgin Voom in 2016, and has been featured in BBC radio, BBC World Service and CNN.
Toby is the driver behind the plastic roads idea and MacRebur, a company that has embarked in the creation of roads that are stronger, long lasting, cheap and green. He graduated from the university of Plymouth.