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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The Pela Case mission is simple: to reduce the amount of plastic waste on this planet, and alleviate the dependancy of now-renewable fossil fuels and oil-based products, one phone case at a time.
The Pela Case is made of Flaxstic®, which consists of compostable bioplastic elastomer and flax straw materials. The material has been tested to be safe and free of phthalates, BPA, cadmium and lead and is verified to meet child safety standards in the U.S., Canada, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. It meets U.S. (ASTM D6400-04) and E.U. (EN 13432) standards for composting in an industrial composting facility and has a lower carbon footprint and lower greenhouse gas emissions than traditional plastic. It can also be left to biodegrade in a home composting environment.
Their base material is 35% biobased, which means it is made up of 35% biobased content by weight. The ASTM Standard D6866 defines biobased as new carbon (carbon from renewable resources like plants). They add up to 10% flax shive to the base material to create Flaxstic®, which increases the overall biobased content by weight to 45%. The remaining 55% of our current Flaxstic® formulation consists of non-renewable resources. The company's goal is to continue to work with the best bioplastic companies to advance the bioplastic and biopolymer science to get to 100% biobased content.
The Pela Case will biodegrade in an industrial compost facility or in a backyard composter, but not in your pocket. They have not had a Pela Case begins to biodegrade outside of a composting environment.
How long will it take ? This answer depends on the quality of the compost environment, which can vary greatly. So, the best range the company can provide is that it will take 6 months to 2 or 3 years to biodegrade in backyard compost environment. The Pela team is passionate about clean water and clean ocean initiatives like Water.org and Surfrider Foundation just to name a few.
In Canada, flax bioplastic cell phone case startup Pela has received funding from Marcy Venture Partners, a venture capital firm co-founded by rap and business mogul JAY-Z.