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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OSAC's PingMe helps fishermen locate and identify lost gear in the ocean. PingMe is a smart and modern tool for tagging gear and objects under water. With new transponder technology, either integrated with the boat's sonar or as a stand-alone system, PingMe makes it easy to find and identify lost gear underwater.
Ghost fishing and lost gear (mostly gill-nets) from the fisheries represent a major environmental problem. For the fisheries, this is also linked to reputation. Lost gear means financial loss and reduced efficiency for the fisherman. Lost gear is also a danger to those traveling by sea. Tagging gear for easier detection is likely to be regulated in the future.
PingMe is patented and consists of three units:
PingMe transponder: A smart, small device attached to gear/objects you want identified and located underwater
PingMe software: A software module integrated in the boat's existing sonar system or as a stand-alone system. The software allows communication with the transponder to determine location and ID.
PingMe Service in the cloud: A management tool for the authorities. Information of lost, detected and retrieved gear is reported to the cloud, some of it automatically. This enables the authorities to keep better control of litter in the ocean, which might come in conflict with other boats or fisheries.
Ocean Space Acoustics (OSAC) is an innovative company that contributes to a sustainable fishery and a cleaner ocean through its solutions. Basic technology is being developed in collaboration with SINTEF, Norway's largest research institute.