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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Ocean plastic is an abundant “stranded resource” that can replace the use of virgin materials and then be recycled and reused endlessly, reversing the tide of plastics filling our oceans. They are continuously adding collection sites and types of materials offered to brands in product development.
8 million metric tons of plastic enter the oceans annually. 80% of that comes from land based sources. Oceanworks, together with partners around the globe, is sustainably and ethically harvesting plastic from coastal areas where waste is mismanaged. The plastic they utilize is 100% recycled from this coastal harvest, thereby taking it out of its inevitable flow to the ocean. They collect plastic in many locations where there are no substantial financial opportunities available for people. Their mission is to create meaningful employment and positive local impact in these communities. "Community sources - Global Impact"
They work with local collection partnersaround the world, creating meaningful employment and cleaner waterways. The Oceanworks team is a seasoned group of design and engineering professionals. They have deep manufacturing partnerships in Asia and have been at the forefront of sustainable design efforts before it was cool. They optimize design and manufacturing for efficiency and quality so that ocean plastic will be used most effectively. They can also help to source and manage suppliers.
Oceanworks sourced plastic is documented from collection source to retail shelf. They follow the material and its collection source and then monitor the chain of custody all the way through to the final product. This gives brands and factories assurances that the ocean plastic was ethically collected for a living wage. They are working with leading experts in ocean debris, technical expertise on polymers, and waste management.
Oceanworks was born out of Norton Point, an eyewear company that launched a line of ocean plastic sunglasses in 2016. Funded on Kickstarter in just 6 days, the project raised awareness of ocean plastic worldwide and opened our eyes to the many disparate elements that need to be woven together to develop a product that truly makes a difference. Ultimately, this realization led us to found Oceanworks.
Rob is the CEO & Co-Founder of Oceanworks and have previously founded successful companies in the consumer product, lifestyle, digital media, marketing services and sustainability industry. A recent one is Norton Point, an eyewear company that uses recycled ocean plastic for its frames.
Chief Innovation Officer & Co-Founder
Aly is a design entrepreneur specializing in invention development. He has launched products for some of the most exciting consumer brands and has garnered more than 2 dozen patents. Aly and his wife Beth have founded numerous efforts nurturing inventive culture.