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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Using patented microwave technology, Pyrowave places small, modular units directly onsite at recycling facilities and producers of plastic waste. Pyrowave’s technology enhances the rate and the range of recyclable materials, reduce logistics costs and produce higher value end products from waste plastics – products such as wax, oil and styrene monomer. Pyrowave has a significant positive benefit environmentally and economically. Its technology reduces waste landfilling, waste incineration and waste hauling via a net positive energy process.
Pyrowave claims that their technology is the "first cost effective" Waste-to-Feedstock technology that recycles mixed plastic waste. Their unique approach uses a local conversion that unzips plastics back to their initial constituents that can later be re-used to make virgin polymers and packaging. Pyrowave’s patented technology is Catalytic Microwave Depolymerization (CMD) which uses microwaves to perform fast de-polymerization of mixed plastics with small-scale modular units capable of treating 400-1,200 tons/year on-site. The equipment converts mixed plastics with or without food contamination into predominantly oil containing valuable waxes and monomers.
The products are sold to chemical companies that re-use the monomers and waxes for FDA compliant applications and therefore cost effectively closes the loop of polymers life cycle The machine can process between 50 and 100 kg per cycle and each cycle lasts 30 minutes. The modular approach allows the operator to operate many units.
Pyrowave started a partnership with 2 Industry leaders: ReVital Polymers and INEOS Styrolution to recycle polystyrene packaging. They were named one of the top 100 cleantech companies to watch in 2017.
Jocelyn is the founder of Pyrowave and has been CEO since the start in 2013. Prior to this he was Adjunct professor in the department of Chemical Engineering at the Polytechnique school of Montreal. He has a Ph.D in Chemical Engineering.