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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Bio-on was founded in 2007 with a specialization in bio-plastics. It is the first time in the company's region, Emilia Romagna, that beet waste has been utilized to create bioplastics production (PHA specifically speaking). They are also using sugar cane waste and operate under the name of Minerv PHA.
Bio-on is taking advantage of the Bologna area which is famous for auto-machinery and creating a greener vision. The industry machines are being used to create PHA material to be able to produce sustainable products. They monitor the LCA production and development to ensure that their plastic is completely bio.
The PHA produced is biodegradable in impure water sources. They are the first company that has achieved this within a record 10 days in a river source. It is also high performance to heat making it great to work with in forming products and in the food industry packaging. Minerv PHA is certified by SDA Biobased product label, certificate of Material Excellence by Material Connexion and K Biodegradable Water.
Bio-on's target audience is to operate directly in the agro-food world, in the design and accessories sector, in the cosmetics sector, in the pharmaceutical sector, supplying all the technology necessary to produce or use PHAs with the development of the relative characterizations. The Intellectual Property Company is based in Bologna and offers the possibility to grant licenses all over the world. PHAs production is limited in territorial terms through technology license contracts or industrial partnerships dedicated to specific commercial areas. The company plans to enter the packaging market through Zeropack, a joint venture with Rivoira that will use bioplastic materials to make packaging for fruits and vegetables.
With Innova Imagen (Himes Group), they announced the signing of a new agreement to produce PHAs bioplastics in Mexico. The two companies start the first collaboration in central / North America to exploit the Bio-on technologies for the industrial production of PHAs biopolymers, enhancing different local raw materials.
From the alliance between Unilever and Bio-on, The new My Kai brand has entered the cosmetics market with the first line of eco-friendly sunscreens.