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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Carrefour Spain, recycl3R, and EVERYTHNGhave partnered to develop ReciclaYa, an application offering rewards based recycling to consumers for the products they purchase in Spain.
Consumers are often misinformed of the right way to sort and dispose of their waste, making it difficult for the waste to reach the appropriate disposal plants. With ReciclaYa, not only will customers be informed on the right for sorting and waste disposal, but will also be rewarded for their efforts, making consumers recycling an incentive-based initiative.
Available for download for both Android and iOS, the application is designed to inform customers of the guidelines for recycling their products. The application helps the customer sort waste into virtual bins along with the correct method of disposal. Upon disposal, the customer is offered rewards and incentives from leading consumer brands for their efforts.
ReciclaYa was tested in 2018 and since April 2019, the service is fully operative in the whole country. It successfully works in a few simple steps:
Customers are required to use the application to scan the barcode on their Carrefour receipt.
The application informs them about the products that can be recycled and how to sort them.
The application then guides the customer to the nearest bin and informs them of collection dates and times.
Upon recycling through the app, the customer is awarded points as rewards which can be redeemed for rewards from leading brands.
Carrefour customers were offered 1 point for each recycling action the app, with 2 points equaling 1 Euro cent. Upon accumulating rewards worth 10 Euro, the customer was awarded a 10 Euro discount voucher for Carrefour's online supermarket.
The service is sponsored by BNP Paribas Cardif and some brands like Coca Cola, Danone, Procter & Gamble, Nestle and Unilever are participating in this service rolled out by Carrefour Spain.
The application was presented at the TEX showroom as part of the 2019 Spring Collection.