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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RWDC Industriesdevelops innovative and cost-effective biopolymer material solutions. In particular, the company works on producing a proprietary medium-chain-length polyhydroxyalkanoate (mcl-PHA) biopolymer that is designed for use across a broad range of applications.
The unique properties and capabilities of RWDC’s proprietary PHA biopolymer technology allows for direct drop-in-replacement for existing petroleum based plastic items such as polypropylene straws, polystyrene containers and polyethylene bags.
In customer trials, RWDC Emulsion has been shown to have superior water and oil/grease resistance, and a liquid barrier that is equivalent to what is provided by PE extrusion coating, and morever: at a lower cost.
RWDC’s PHA emulsion coating is fully biodegradable in soil, water and marine conditions as tested by certification agency TUV Austria. It fully biodegrades within 12 weeks with no toxic residue. Paper and paperboard that is coated with RWDC’s PHA emulsion coating can be easily recycled in existing waste paper recycle streams.
RWDC Industries has entered into development projects for multiple thermoplastic replacement applications. These products are designed to meet the increasing global demand for biodegradable, compostable and recyclable plastics. They closed a $22 million Series A3 funding round in April 2019 led by Vickers Partners.