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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Rothy’s makes consumer goods (shoes and insoles) using recycled plastic from bottles that were meant for the landfill.
The technology with which the shoes are made took three years of research. Rothy’s Shoes was started by two founders Stephen Hawthornwaite (CEO) and Roth Martin (Chief Creative Officer). They are situated in San Francisco, California, and they began operations in 2015. They came up with the unique design and 3-D Knit Technology that was used to make the shoes. They use discarded plastic bottles meant for the landfill.
The shoes are recyclable, earth-friendly, carbon-free and still reasonably priced. They are lightweight, soft and comfortable to wear since these are all-weather shoes made for comfort and style. They can be machine washed, quick to dry. They have a flexible rubber sole and uppers. They offer many styles in different colors and are meant for summer or for regions with warm weather and after use, the shoes can be recycled again.
Rothy’s currently has one store in California. It is possible to order their products online for delivery within the USA. Rothy’s shoes are widely and positively reviewed by fashion online publications for their sustainability, style, colors, design and comfort.
Prior to becoming an entrepreneur, Stephen spent almost 20 years advising on M&A transactions and evaluating investment opportunities in both investment banking and corporate development. In particular, he focused on the Internet, Digital Media, eCommerce and Consumer sectors.