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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The research team of the University of Talca, led by Carolina Torres, PhD. in Horticulture, has managed to develop a new natural antiscalds for pears and apples.
Superfictial scald is a Physiological disorder that occurs mostly in apples and pears. It is one of the most common problems during the post harvest and storage, as well as being the cause of rejection of international shipments of these fruits.
The team has developed a formulation potentially marketable in the short term for pears, 100% natural, with high efficacy to prevent superficial scald in prolonged guards with beneficial effects for the quality and condition of the fruit. The plant-based antioxidant formulation helps to prevent the oxidation of pears and apples during the post-harvest and storage stage
Validated at pre-commercial scale in an operating environment. This technology has also positive effects on fruit quality (color, firmness, lower ethylene production, texture and overall appearance). This antiscalding has been validated to semi-industrial scale in Chile and United States, both in pears and apples. The tests were performed in both controlled atmosphere (AC) as in conventional cold (FC).
Applied postharvest, it could be marketed as an “Plant-based antioxidant coating” potentially reducing regulatory requirements.