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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PPS Midlands Ltdpreviously PPS Equipment Management Ltd is based in Marchington, and was set up originally as a plastic pallet pooling business in 2002. PPS stands for Plastic Packaging Solutions. They are now a popular Returnable Packaging System. They provide a sustainable alternative to cardboard boxes and expanded polystyrene boxes to transport fish, meat, fresh produce, and automotive parts as well as enable office moves.
PPS provides a full range of Returnable Transit Equipment (RTE) services, which includes the rental, management, repair and wash of equipment pools. They have plastic crates, trays, pallets, fish boxes, pallet boxes, bulk bins and roll cages. These are rented to businesses that want to transport and supply any products. PPS takes the responsibility of collecting the used plastics, and washing them in two BRC accredited modern and hygienic wash plants. They also wash customers’ own plastic containers. They have a separate facility to wash equipment from a variety of industry sectors including retail, automotive and electronics. Once clean the packages are ready for use again.
Producers and customers soon realized that by using PPS they would save money spent on single use containers, since the plastic containers have a lifespan of up to three years. In addition, they now sustainable packaging solution gives them green credentials, and helps them from preventing a vast amount of pollution. Suppliers and producers can make an investment and buy their own returnable plastic containers, and save money on single use containers.
PPS Midlands started in Marchington, but also have facilities in the Grimsby and Kirkham now, with David Peggie, as CEO. The business has attracted attention in UK and Europe among the suppliers.