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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Revive Eco is working towards creating local solutions to solve global problems by developing high-value natural products from used coffee grounds.
The startup is tackling two clear global issues: the amount of coffee grounds being sent to landfill, and the unsustainability of ingredients used in the cosmetics, food and beverage industries. Consumers in the UK drink 55 million cups of coffee each day, generating and wasting over half a million tons of used coffee grounds. Most of these coffee grounds are sent to the landfill, however Revive Eco is working on transforming them into something valuable.
Revive Eco has created an innovation which is capable of extracting high-value biochemicals from used coffee grounds which contain all the same components as palm oil. Palm oil has been in the news recently for all the wrong reasons, being responsible for deforestation and all the emissions that come with it.
Revive Eco is a waste collection service: from the residual material, Revive Eco creates a natural soil conditioner, putting valuable nutrients back into the earth via a zero-waste process, and providing a range of industries (such as hospitality, cosmetics and fashion) with sustainable and locally-sourced alternatives to palm oil.
Their process is the following:
Revive Eco collects used coffee grounds from cafes, restaurants and offices. This process is outsourced to the recycling start-up Cauda to organize collection of coffee waste from restaurants and offices across Scotland. This allows them to incorporate coffee collections into existing waste collection routes to ensure there is no additional transport required.
The coffee waste is then processed at their used coffee grounds recycling plant in Scotland.
A range of high value products is derived from these used coffee grounds.
Beside receiving interest from cosmetic companies, the company would also like to explore & research ways to use their process with other waste streams. For this, they are looking at breweries and distilleries. The company will start locally and is also looking to expand internationally.
Revive Eco has already won awards, including being Top 10 in the Global Final of the Chivas Venture, finalists in the MIT Solve Circular Economy Competition, and winning Shell LiveWIRE.
Scott holds a BA Honors degree in Business Enterprise from University of Strathclyde. He has previously worked with Kingsford Estates Ltd., Virtual Interconnect Ltd., Power A Life Ltd., Strathclyde Business School, Levy Restaurants and The Saltire Foundation.
Scott holds a BA Honors degree in Marketing & Entrepreneurship from University of Strathclyde. He has previously worked with Apple, Teleperformance, Next Group PLC, QB3, Henderson Stone & Co Ltd., University of Strathclyde, Marks & Spencer and The Saltire Foundation.