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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Smart City Solutions provides pioneering IoT-based solutions to make waste collection in a city efficient and environment friendly. Smart City reduces waste of time and money by excluding empty bins in collection rounds, and including full ones using:
Clean Cubes: Bins with sensors called Clean Cubes that estimate the weight of the waste deposited in them. These bins then compact the waste, so that a ‘smart bin’ can hold eight times the volume of waste that normal bins of the same size can. Information from the bin is transferred to the company’s server, as it is equipped with Wi-Fi, is powered by renewable solar energy through a panel fitted on the waste bin cover. This makes LED advertisement on the bins also a possibility.
Clean Caps: Other sensors called Clean Caps can be added under the lids of existing bins. These are useful also for large above ground and underground containers. They estimate the amount of waste in it and send this field level information wirelessly to the Clean City Network Software. The bins and containers can also signal when they are full and need emptying.
Clean City Network Software connects the Clean Caps and Clean Cubes to improve efficiency. Information is relayed in real time, so the collection routes can be planned more efficiently to save wasted trips, fuel and money. Operational costs can be reduced by as much as 80%. Moreover, this technology doesn’t cost much as some of their devices can be used with existing bins.
Raymond Hughes is one of the founders of Smart City Solutions, which started in 2016. Many cities in Australia use Smart City Solutions for waste management.
Samira joined Smart City Solution in November 2016 and prior to that she was National Development Manager for Solar Bins Australia (1 year).
Founder and Sales Director
Before founding Smart City Solutions in 2016, Raymond was account manager with Solar Bins Australia. Prior to this, he was also auctioneer at Park West Gallery in Miami and regional sales manager at 5G Communications in the UK