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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New Hope Energy is a US-based startupthatconverts plastic waste into fuel using chemical recycling methods.
The company makes use of patented heat exchange vessels that use heat to convert plastics into hydrocarbon products without combustion.
The hydrocarbons are put through distillation to produce synthetic oil and synthetic paraffin. The process also produces synthetic asphalt.
The company uses municipal, industrial, pre or post recycling plastics as feedstock. It accepts HDPE, LDPE, Polystyrene, and Polypropylene plastics in any color.
The company can work with plastics that cannot be grinded or recycled, such as extrudes, sheet plastic, post-recycled plastic, mixed types and post-product plastic drums. It also accepts unprocessed waste.
Other than paraffin and asphalt, the system produces low-sulfur and ASTM standard fuel oils such as Marine MGO, Bunker 2 and 4, Home Heating Oil, Fuel Oil 2, Fuel Oil 4, and Naptha.
The system does not accept PET, PVC or Number 7 plastics like nylon and polycarbonates.
The company also rejects plastics mixed with non-plastics, for example if they are glued to cardboard and paper. It is exploring ways to make solid replacement fuel products from such materials.
New Hope Energy aims to work with companies and municipalities to receive waste feedstock. It also accepts plastic that cannot be exported. It is also looking to work with circular economy consultants who have clients with post-industrial non-recyclable waste.
The company has partnerships with buyers of oil. It is looking to develop more facilities in locations where they are close to both feedstocks and buyers.
Since 2017 it has helped operate the Trinity Oaks recycling facility in Tyler, Texas, USA.
The company can also help equip other facilties classified under Texas HB 1953 as pyrolysis and gasification facilities.
Johnny has a Bachelor's degree in civil engineering from Texas A&M University. He is also the CEO of Trinity Green Services, LLC. Before starting New Hope Energy, he was Founder, CEO and President of Paradigm Engineering.