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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Nefilatek is a Montreal-based startup specializing in manufacturing recycled filament who has developed 3D printing filaments made from 100% recycled plastic.
3D printing is one of the most promising industry in development, and this industry will bring a lot of improvements to people, but 3D printed objects are made with different plastics, and these material have a terrible impact on environment. Nefilatek claims that the annual plastic consumption from the 3D printing industry amounts to an estimated 30 million pounds, with a projected 250 million pounds by 2020. Currently, it is also estimated, according to the company, that the production of 3D printing plastics will result in the consumption of 1.4 million barrels of oil, which will generate over 800 million pounds of carbon emissions annually by 2020.
Nefilatek's goal is to reduce the environmental impact of the 3D printing industry. The company is running a Kickstarter page, where early adopters can choose between two types of filaments which comes with reusable spool supports and eco-friendly packaging.
Nefila HIPS Black is the first filament developed by Nefilatek and is made with HIPS (High Impact Polystyrene) recycled from electronic waste. It allows impact and heat-resistant 3D prints, while presenting the same characteristics as standard ABS. HIPS can be dissolved and smoothed with D-limonenene or Terebenthine oil and can be used to print supports for specific 3D prints.
Nefila PC is the second already developed filament, it is made with PC (Polycarbonate). This material proposes outstanding mechanical properties (solidity and flexibility) and is resistant to wide temperature variations (-50C° to +130C°). Using a full metal hot end and adding brim supports allows customers to print objects from polycarbonate with a standard 3D printer. Nefila PC is the perfect filament to print objects for technical applications.
Nefila HIPS White is a filament made from homogeneous and non-contaminated waste in white HIPS. This one has recently been launched.
The company is able to recycling around 3-4 Tons of plastics into spool a year and their goal is to reach 20 tons in 2020.
All 3D printed pieces can be recycled again one or two times. After that, there is a depolymerization process due to heat/cold cycles.
The Manufacturing tolerances is +-0.05 mm, and they are planning to reach +-0.03 mm in the end of the year
For the launch phase, they are planning to sell through their online shop and to Canadian retailers.
With its new filaments, Nefilatek is aiming to provide a “safe alternative solution for makers, designers and manufacturers” that cuts down on the amount of plastic used and wasted in 3D printing.
Bastien has completed Mechanical Engineering from Université de Montréal - Polytechnique Montréal. Along with being the founder of Nefilatek, he is also the founder of Vikasae which expertise in ecodesign and marerial recovery.