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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Plastiroll is a Finnish privately-owned company founded in 1983 that manufactures compostable paper and paperboard based packaging materials and biodegradable packaging films and bags.
They develop and manufacture biodegradable and compostable materials for the packaging industry as well as for other applications. They are committed to continuous improvement of their environmental performance according to ISO 14001 standard. They use predominantly renewable natural materials in their production such as paperboard, paper and compostable barrier coatings whenever possible. Their biodegradable films are manufactured from GMO-free starch-based raw materials. By using mainly raw materials based on renewable resources, e.g. starch based raw materials for bio-films, they are able to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
They constantly revise their production process to minimize production waste and emissions, and also try to get by with as little energy as possible. Since their film manufacturing plant was completed in 2010, they have utilized the process energy released in the process to heat up their production facility. All their biodegradable films and bags are produced solely on wind power. This simple decision reduces their company’s CO2 emissions by over 1,000 tonnes a year, which is roughly the equivalent of around 300 private cars’ annual carbon dioxide emissions.
Their product range includes Biodegradable packaging and converting films, both transparent and coloured, Biodegradable and compostable agricultural films, Compostable and recyclable barrier paper and board material for food packaging and other industrial applications. They have two manufacturing facilities in Ylöjärvi, near Tampere, Finland.
Kari has over 20 years of experience in international business. He has participated in multiple fields of operations ie. sales, sourcing, finance and management. He has special know-how in biodegradable films, raw materials and packaging innovations and has been active in environmentally friendly board and paper based packaging solutions.