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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Shark Solutions is a Danish company that separates polyvinyl butyral (PVB) from laminated glass using a patented technology. The recycled PVB is non-toxic and can be used in a variety of sectors.
There are over 1 billion cars in the world and this number is expected to double in 20 years. However, glass used in automobiles are simply disposed in landfills where they do not degrade for amillion years. Useful materials like PVB present in the glass go waste.
The company’s Shark Glass Separator (SGS) system offers a cost-effective method to separate PBV from laminated glass from car windscreens and architectural glass. The process is cost-effective compared to the traditional methods, according to the company.
PVB has valuable technical properties such as binding, flexibility and sound dampening. It can be used as a coating material for lumber, metals, concrete, leather and on gloss surfaces.
It can also be used in paints, adhesives, flooring and in dyeing clothes. Glass cloths made from PVB can be used to improve the performance of glass fiber reinforced plastic.
The SGS system can process 20 tons per hour. Its glass cullets are less than 10 millimetres in size allowing for greater variety of uses. The company has plants in the United States and Europe and its products are Cradle-to-Cradle Certified®. They are currently processing 40,000 tons of material every year. The company also has ISO 9001 certification from Bureau Veritas of Denmark.
The company has received investments from Circularity Capital. The company is part owned by BlueEquity, a private equity funded by Danish companies and PFA pension fund. In 2019, it also joined the United Nations SDG Accelerator for SMEs.