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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PaperFoam produces eco-friendly and compostable biobased packaging solutions for a range of commercial products.
PaperFoam combines industrial starch and natural fibers to produce a recyclable paper and 100% compostable material for manufacturing various packaging products. The technology produces the packaging material in a few steps:
Mixing industrial starch, natural fibres, water and premix into a thick paste.
The paste is injected into a mould and baked at high temperatures.
The resultant product is ejected from the mould and shipped to the customer.
A number of benefits are associated with PaperFoam products, like a 90% carbon footprint reduction, biodegradability, design variety and product fitting. PaperFoam also produces customised packaging solutions for clients.
All products from PaperFoam are certified by EN 13432, ASTM D6868, Vincotte OK Compost, Vincotte OK Biobased, and Vincotte OK Home Compost.
PaperFoam has been used for packaging in a number of brands like Kipster, Burt's Bees, Fairphone, Kabloom, Seedbom and more.