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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Unifi uses a proprietary technology including ProFiber to make polyester and nylon from recycled waste. It has supplied this material to renowned brands and helped them become eco-friendly and sustainable.
Though the company has its headquarters in North Carolina, USA, they are large enough to supply material globally. They produce 300 million pounds of polyester and nylon yarn annually.
Repreve is the fabric that they produce from recycled materials including post-industrial waste and used plastic bottles, from recycling centers they run. Their processing centers transform plastic bottles into flake, resin and fiber of the highest quality and integrity. Unifi attempts to achieve a closed loop system by recycling all the materials it uses in the production process as well like used motor oil, water, dyes etc. The material is water-proof, flame-retardant, soft, natural to touch, aesthetic, provides UV protection, water control, comes in various colors, prints and comfortable.
The company source globally and supply to Asia, Europe, Central America and the Middle East. Its recycled material has been used by brands like Ford, Patagonia, North Face and Vitamin A swimwear. George Allen Mebane IV founded Unifi in 1971, and it is now a global leader in recycled textiles.