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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Resynergi is a techno-environmental company that has created an economical, ecological and sustainable solution to address the issue of waste plastic. Using advanced RF technology, Resynergi is using a continuous microwave assisted pyrolysis (CMAP) technology to convert traditionally non-recyclable plastics into highly profitable hydrocarbon products, including fuels, naphtha for chemical recycling, and other complementary products. Generally, pyrolysis is a process where heat is applied to materials in the absence of oxygen. The heat breaks the molecular chains, and turns the material into gas. The gas is then condensed into a liquid form (e.g., diesel or naphtha).
Resynergi considers waste plastic a valuable resource. Using its CMAP technology, the clean fuels produced by the Resynergi system are an alternative to refined oil products since the fuels are low in carbon intensity, contain no sulfur, and are extracted from waste plastic rather than the earth. This process produces 60% less Green House Gases (GHG) emissions for diesel compared to fossil fuel extraction and refining.
Resynergi’s system and methods differ from conventional pyrolysis processes in several important ways:
There is no burning or incineration and produces no smoke.
The systems are uniquely designed to be compact, portable and modular.
The system is powered by electricity, which is readily available in most locations, so it does not require fuel or other materials for heating.
The system processes low and high-density polyethylene, polypropylene, and polystyrene plastics, identified by plastics resin codes 2, 4, 5, and 6.
The system can convert 1 kilogram of waste plastic into 1 liter of fuel using 1kWh of electricity.
The system does not require that the plastic be completely clean, as it is capable of processing waste plastic containing some contaminants, such as mulch films or food waste. The high temperatures convert the solid waste into biochar, which can be collected and used as fertilizers or carbon black.
Depending upon the targeted output, the plastic feedstock, the type of catalyst and the volume of contaminants, the system is capable of producing primarily (i) fuels (diesel (60%-65%) and naphtha/gasoline (25%-30%)) or (ii) chemical products that can be used to remake virgin plastic (naphtha (60% -65%) and fuels (25%-30% diesel/gasoline blend). The remaining 5%-15% consist of chars and syngas.
Resynergi has designed refining systems to make its fuels compliant with ASTM and EN standards, and is working on advanced catalytic techniques to produce high quality naphtha.
Resynergi systems are built to meet the high UL and EU certifications for operation.