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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Reusabol is a pre-pilot project aiming to bring reusable packaging to the restaurant and catering industry in Barcelona, with a tech component. It seeks to address the problem of plastic waste created by disposable food packaging containers by replacing them with reusable bows that are made from 100% recyclable polypropylene.
The food industry creates a lot of plastic waste every year due to the use of single-use plastic containers and cutlery. Presented as #YourForverBowl, Reusabol aims to replace 1,000,000 disposable packaging containers that can eliminate approximately 600 kg of plastic waste annually.
Reusabols are lightweight bowls, which are unbreakable, stackable and easily microwaveable. These are industrially cleaned and each sanitized bowl can be used 1000 times. The bowls are transported on electric bikes and cleaned and sanitised in industrial washing machines to make them fit for reuse.
The product is easily available at partner restaurants where you can ask for your meal to be served in a Reusabol in exchange for a small refundable deposit. After use, you can drop the bowl at any restaurant on the Reusabol network. These polypropylene bowls are 100% recyclable and reusable as per world standards and government guidelines. Thus, it makes sure that the food quality isn't hampered.
Reusabol addresses the problem of waste generated due to the excessive use of single-use plastics in the food industry. Unlike disposable food packaging, Reusabol can be used a number of times before being properly recycled at the end of its life. This ensures a zero-waste product.
The company is focused on ease of access so that consumers can use the product without much hassle. Users can find nearby partner restaurants to avail Reusabol and also drop-off used bowls. The pilot project will be launched in January 2020.
The food industry, particularly fast-food chains, restaurants, coffee shops, and the average consumer can benefit from Reusabol.
A University of Leeds educated language interpretation graduate, Aimee has been working as a food entrepreneur for the past 3 years and founded this company in April 2018. She is based in Catalonia, Barcelona, Spain.