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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High definition laser tagging system replacing fruits and vegetables labels
As the first in Europe, Nature & More has introduced Natural Branding on organic fruits and vegetables in order to saving a mountain of plastic.
In supermarkets, organic fruits and vegetables are usually packed in environmentally unfriendly plastic foil in order to distinguish them from the non-organic alternative. This is important for supermarkets because they want to ensure that there is no misunderstanding at the checkout counter as to whether someone is buying an organic or non-organic product.
Natural Branding is addressing this issue and offering a sustainable solution. What happens, is that a high definition laser removes part of the pigment from the outer layer of the peel of the fruit or vegetable leaving a permanent mark. As this mark is clearly visible it is no longer necessary to pack the products in harmful plastic foil.
A high definition laser removes the pigment from the outer layer of the skin of the product. It is a contact-free method that has been approved by EU Organic certifier SKAL:
The method is completely safe and no additional substances are used.
The method is so superficial that it has no effect on taste, quality or shelf life.
The energy needed for a marking is less than 1% of the energy needed for a sticker.
Choosing this option means that products no longer need to be packed in plastic. It also helps to reduce the CO2 emissions as labeling and stickers are no longer necessary. Natural Branding and Organic Products are a perfect match as this natural technique not only reduces packaging but avoids ink, fluids, adhesive etc.
Nature and More
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Stage of Development
In Market TRL 9
Value Chain Impact
Product / Package
Sustainability & Communications Manager
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