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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Nordsense provides a complete end to end solution that optimizes waste collection processes by monitoring container levels, applying advanced data analytics and reducing waste collection trips. It uses cloud-based solutions and artificial intelligence to enable turn-by-turn navigation for waste collection. This eliminates stopping at half empty containers.
The solutions it offers are:
NS Pod: a small device that can be used with any container or bin. Its novel feature is that it can estimate levels also of plastic bags.
NS Platform: It is possible to login to this platform from any device. It provides real time information on bins needing collection. So collection trips and even placement of bins can be optimized so overfull bins are a thing of the past.
NS Navigator: This is a mobile application for drivers on collection duties. It lets them know when they have to work, and besides showing the optimal route, it provides directions on which container to stop at. Since information is added in real time, the whole process is dynamic and event driven, and additional full bins can easily be added in the route. It also provides important analytics such as trip duration and cost estimation. The result is that collection trips are minimized and fuel is saved. Moreover, congestion on roads by these larger haulers is avoided as well.
Nordsense is based in Copenhagen and was started in 2016. Besides working in Copenhagen, they also provide services at San Francisco Public Works. Søren Christensen is the founder and CEO at Nordsense Inc. The company has been covered heavily in Swedish press.