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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Headquartered in Eugene, OR, BHS is a worldwide leader in the innovative design, engineering, manufacturing and installation of sorting systems and components for the solid waste, recycling, waste-to-energy, and construction and demolition industries.
Max-AI® technology uses artificial intelligence to identifies recyclables and other items for recovery. Through a deep learning technology, Max employs both multi-layered neural networks and a vision system developed with Sadako to see and identify objects similarly to the way a person does. The technology is driving improvements in Material Recovery Facility (MRF) design, operational efficiency, recovery, system optimization, maintenance, and more.
The first available machine utilizing Max-AI technology was an Autonomous Quality Control (QC) unit that sorts container streams following optical sorting. This robotic sorter uses its vision system to see the material, its artificial intelligence to think and identify each item, and a robot to pick targeted items. This system is able to make multiple sorting decisions autonomously, for example separating various materials such as thermoform trays, aluminum, and fiber while removing residue from a stream of PET bottles. All of this is done at rates exceeding human capabilities.
According to BHS Chief Executive Officer Steve Miller, “Labor is a significant challenge for MRF operators and it’s obvious that Max will be very beneficial in helping our customers manage that aspect of their business. However, the highest returns will come from complete integration of Max-AI technology throughout every advanced BHS system. Our customers will not only have autonomous sorting, but also an intelligent central nervous system that observes what’s happening in the plant in real-time and adjusts process parameters to maximize profits.”
A recipient of the SWANA Award for Excellence in 2016, Athens was an ideal location for the first installation of Max-AI robotic sorters to complement the advanced screen, air, and optical separation technology already in use. Integrating seamlessly with the company’s existing NRT optical sorters, Max provides a fully autonomous PET sorting solution.
Wholly-owned subsidiaries include Nihot (Amsterdam), NRT (Nashville, TN) and Zero Waste Energy (Lafayette, CA). Clients around the globe choose BHS because of its experience, dedication to cutting-edge technology, quality construction and durability, and unmatched customer service. BHS has built some of the largest and most durable MRFs in the world – and they are achieving the highest throughput, recovery, and purity rates in the industry.