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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Reflow creates sustainable 3D printing materials with heart and precision. This startup brings together recyclers, makers and designers to tackle plastic pollution, supports local communities and creates innovative products from robotics, to consumer goods. In partnership with organizations like techfortrade and protopasta, they created their own technology and machines that was cost-effective and size efficient.
By building a vast international network for small-scale production, they transform local waste streams into a premium material to match all your creative needs. It is easy to transport and install the machines in new locations so that the plastics can be processed and used in a decentralized manner anywhere in the world.
Their machine is an extruder that turns cleaned and shredded plastic into plastic filaments. These filaments are then sent to people who use them in 3D printing.
Reflow has its headquarters in Amsterdam, with an office in New Delhi and operates in Tanzania.