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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Open Water is a bottled water company that uses aluminum packaging as a more sustainable alternative to single-use plastic bottles.
Even though reusable bottles are the best solution, consumers still demand bottled water if they don't have an alternative, and the industry keeps growing. To counter this issue, the founders of the startup decided to launch Open Water (formerly named Green Sheep Water) that would use 100% recyclable aluminum bottle.
The range of bottles is made from high quality, shatter-resistant aluminum, with a recloseable screw on cap (for the 16 oz bottle options). The team emphasize on the added value of Aluminum choice:
Cans and bottles get recycled 67% of the time. That is more than twice as often as plastic, glass, and cartons.
The material is infinitely recyclable so no new material is needed: it can be recycled over and over without losing quality or volume. The same can't be said for plastic and cartons.
Bottles and cans are much lighter than their heavy glass counterparts.
They launched 3 varieties:
The 16 & 12 oz still bottled water (the 12oz being a can),
The 16 oz sparkling water bottle. They leverage that consumers get the "refreshing taste you’d expect from one of those imported brands, without the wasted fuel" as most of the sparkling brand sold in the US are coming from Europe.
Open Water is now available in select retailers across 32 states in the US and they are expanding. Retailers & distributors can learn more on their Retailer's page.