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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PulpWorks designs and manufactures sustainable packaging for the consumer products industry.
PulpWorks offers compostable products (in industrial compost), molded from 100% post-consumer paper waste and agricultural waste. Their environmentally friendly packaging is created utilizing the same technology that's been used for decades to create egg cartons. They have added a wide variety of colors, textures, and complexity to the original technology. Their engineers and designers create custom packaging for consumer product companies to suit aesthetic needs without sacrificing functionality.
PulpWorks has an outsourced supply chain comprised of manufacturing, printing, assembly, sales and distribution partners in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa. Their flagship product, the patented Karta-Pack™, is PulpWorks’ environmentally friendly alternative to the toxic, dangerous and ubiquitous plastic blister pack. The Karta-Pack™ comprises of two pieces of compostable and biodegradable material – molded pulp and cardboard – that are connected to create a single package with the saleable article nestled safely in a cavity in the molded pulp component.
The advantages of the Karta-Pack™, compliant with ISO 14000 and European Green Dot standards, versus a blister pack comprised of PVC, the most environmentally harmful plastic on our planet, are myriad.
PulpWorks also offers a broad range of custom-designed protective packaging as well as packaging for consumer goods made from molded paper waste or agricultural waste (bagasse, bamboo, switch grass, wheat straw). They build on the 100-year legacy of molded pulp technology by bringing molded pulp to new products, new categories and new markets.
PulpWorks custom designs molded pulp products in the most efficient and economical manner possible through the disciplines of geometry and architecture. Configurations effectively nest and stack, reducing shipping costs and storage space. And no assembly is required: structures are designed for speed and simplicity - making them ready and easy-to-use in their customers’ facilities.
Paul has held leadership positions in procurement, manufacturing, and logistics in ventures ranging from start-up to Fortune 100, including The Clorox Company, California Closet Company, Method Products, Hepagen, OM2 (supply chain consultancy), and the Reclipse Group. In 2008, Paul founded and continues to lead the San Francisco Bay Area Green Supply Chain Forum. He is an Industrial Engineering graduate of the New Jersey Institute of Technology and holds a Ph.D. in Mathematics from Boston University.