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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RecycleBalls is a youth-powered nonprofit organization with a vision to place a tennis recycling bin on every court in the USA by 2020, in order to collect and recycle the tennis balls and, convert them into sustainable upcycled products.
Every year, 125 million tennis balls are thrown, and they take 400 years to decompose. U.S. tennis players recognize this as a significant environmental problem that no longer represents their sport in 2019.
The payers want to be part of the solution and will recycle all of their balls if convenient courtside bins are available. Organizations also want to be part of a cost-effective green solution. In short, there needs to be an economical, universally adopted initiative to collect, recycle, reuse and publicize a national initiative – one that will inspire the US tennis community to change habits and stop trashing tennis balls.
With the RecycleBalls' initiative, all tennis balls can be recycled and reused. The non-profit partnered with Wilson Sporting Goods Co. and has become a nationally recognized and adopted model.
For tennis organizations: this is a comprehensive no-cost green recycling solution that can generate a significant tax deduction benefit.
For individuals: if they have 100 + tennis balls to recycle, for a donation of $15 to cover part of the shipping fee, an instant shipping label is provided along with a profitable tax deduction benefit.
Since the program started in 2017:
over 1,420,000 tennis balls have been recycled (goal = 20,000,000)
840 partners are spreading the mission (goal = 10,000)
8000 recycle bins have been placed court-side (goal = 120,000)
$375,000 in tax deductions have been generated (goal = $1,600,000)
When tennis balls arrive at Recycleballs’ Vermont facility, the nonprofit removes the felt and using the PLAY IT GREEN machine, grinds the balls into RecycleBalls Green Gold, a natural crumb rubber mixture that is 99 percent felt free. This mixture is then provided to partner organizations such as Sport Group that will use the recycled material to create its Laykold tennis courts.