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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Polystyvert has developed a breakthrough technology for recycling polystyrene, using a dissolution process that works on all types of polystyrene: expanded, extruded and injection-moulded. Their recycled polystyrene product is of very high quality and can easily be re-extruded or re-injected, allowing many applications to incorporate 100% recycled materials.
Their proprietary solvent based technology dissolves polystyrene like sugar in water. The process takes just a few seconds. The solvent is an essential oil that was chosen among others for its high degree of safety. Only polystyrene will dissolve in this oil, while other materials will float or sink depending on their density.
Polystyvert has also developed a thorough purification technology for polystyrene. This purified polystyrene can be re-introduced into a polymerization reactor to regenerate expanded polystyrene (EPS) and high-impact polystyrene (HIPS). These final products have the same mechanical properties as its virgin counterparts; however they incorporate a substantive amount of recycled material.
Polystyvert was founded by Solenne Brouard Gaillot in 2011. The company is based in Quebec and is widely covered in Canada media and international business journals. In 2018, the company closed a financing round of $11M.
Solenne started the Polystyvert in 2011, and has been the CEO since then. She has become a member of the Regional Investment Committee since 2017. Before starting her firm she was a Master Scheduler at Intrado Canada (3 years).