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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Seaqual is a different kind of filament which is made by recycling the plastic collected at the bottom of the sea.
Working together with fishermen in the collection of all sorts of plastic polluting the bottom of our oceans, Seaqual then transform PET into high quality yarn that goes straight into fabrics and clothing. Dealing with the inconsistency of the debris removed by the fishermen that results from exposure to sun, salt and water, required many months of investment in R&D. They are now able to create a 100% recycled polyester filament of the highest quality.
Collecting debris directly from the sea, not the beaches or the coast make this project absolutely unique in its proposal. For collecting the plastic waste, more than 400 boats and 1500 Fishermen from the Spanish Mediterranean coast are involved in the project. Garbage caught in the fishermen’s nets is collected every day and taken to different ports. The waste is collected weekly, they are classified and categorized so that each material (aluminum, glass, pet plastic,) goes to its unique recycling chain.
The PET Plastic is accumulated for conversion into flakes and later into polymer. The polymer can be used to make fabrics and then garments and thus completing the cycle.