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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MakeGrowLab blends science, design, and entrepreneurship to bring Biofabrication to everyday life. Biology weaved into production is a hope to change from wasteful societies to biological systems that enrich the environment.
Its founder Roza has created a biological, fully edible packaging solution that aims to reinvent the old food conservation techniques, named SCOBY® Packaging.
The packaging is weaved by microorganisms and is a high performing packaging solution, fast-renewable, and 100% home compostable.
SCOBY is a product of bacterial fermentation, similar to products in the food industry like Kombucha (an ancient tangy probiotic drink made from tea) or Nata de Coco, which are already mass-produced and have been eaten for ages.
Once dried, SCOBY has a similar look and feel to a pig’s bladder. Food producers have long been using this biological material to package perishable goods such as salami.
There’s now an increased awareness of ethical farming. Roza has created the perfect eco-friendly alternative to packaging made from plastics and animal tissue. It can be used to package dry foods as well as semi-dry foods. SCOBY will allow farmers to grow their own recyclable, vegan-friendly packaging you can eat.
The development process is still underway to determine its durability.