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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Optoro is a cloud based platform which deals with collection, organization and movement of returned consumer products, either at retail stores or online.
The company is disrupting an old-fashioned, reverse logistics industry by increasing the value of excess and returned inventory by bridging the gap between vendors and secondary market catering to resale. There is an immense gradient for growth in this relatively unexplored sector.
Through optimizations within retail returns collection and handling processes, Optoro has streamlined the entire reverse supply chain. Each returned item can now be specifically identified and dispatched to its destined place. The radical difference lies in the replacement of human identification with machine learning. This tasks a person with less of thinking and organizing to do. More products can hence be collected from stores and e-commerce and moved within warehouses with relative ease. Here are some clear advantages of such a module:
Better customer experience,
Reduction in downstream supply chain costs,
Revenue generation and increased product visibility,
Feedback loop for partner organizations to monitor how their products moves through the market,
Increased transparency by including trusted vendors throughout the chain,
Reduction in production costs for industries,
Easy to employ tools to enhance warehouse functions,
Tailored module and guides to potentiate positive end-user workflow,
Handy software which is suited for changes a business might undergo, geographical or otherwise,
Easy restocking with completely unopened and unused inventory.
The company is growing fast and is developing partnerships with leading global companies and organizations. They have currently joined forces with several companies including Jet.com, Sennheiser, Best Buy, Staples, Target, Groupon, Under Armour and Massdrop. The outcomes observed have been extremely encouraging with an objective increase in returns and resale figures.
They have also received multiple awards:
Winner: 2019 Technology Fast 500™ awards,
Winner: EY Entrepreneur Of The Year,
Winner: Circular Economy Enterprise Award at the 2016 World Economic Forum,
Winner: 2015 CNBC Disruptor50 Award.
Optoro envisions and fulfills through everyday application, the concept of a circular retail economy. They are open to partnerships with interested retail brands and organizations.