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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Piramal Sarvajal, seeded by the Piramal Foundation in 2008, is a mission driven social enterprise which designs and deploys innovative solutions for creating affordable access to safe drinking water in underserved areas.
Sarvajal is at the forefront of developing technologies and business practices in the safe drinking water sector that are designed to make a purely market-based model sustainable in both rural and urban deployment conditions. Piramal Sarvajal sets up community level solutions that are locally operated but centrally managed on a market based pay per use system. While they are purification technology agnostic, they leverage cloud based technology for greater operational oversight. As such, their initiatives are low cost for high impact. Piramal Sarvajal has been a pioneer in deploying remotely tracked community-level drinking water purification systems by bringing accountability to day-to-day operations. By being technology-driven, they ensure better machine and operator accountability, meaning better service for the communities.
Piramal Sarvajal, provides safe drinking water through customized decentralized drinking water solutions at selected urban / rural locations. This is achieved through installation of a state-of-the-art community level purification plant for delivery of safe drinking water at affordable prices to the beneficiaries. The project is operated in partnership with a local entrepreneur or the local Panchayat/ Community Based Organization; thereby creating sustainable livelihood opportunities within the chosen community. To address the issue of effective post-purification water distribution, Piramal Sarvajal has innovated a unique Water ATM model that uses smart cards to create price transparency and quality accountability to the last mile.
Anand is a 33 years old business owner from Mumbai, Maharashtra. Anand has studied in the Cathedral and John Connon School in Mumbai. He has done his graduation in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia (USA) and completed his Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the Harvard Business School in Boston (USA). In 2012, he established ‘Piramal eSwasthya’ to promote healthcare. He also holds the position of Executive Director of the ‘Piramal Group,’ which is his family’s real estate business.