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.
Thank you for your interest in Ubuntoo. We’re excited that you’re here! You will need premium membership with us to access this GreenHouse. To continue, please upgrade your membership.To continue, you’ll need an account with us.
Non-profit organization so+ma Vantagens encourages residential recycling in low-income areas of Brazil. Recycling is encouraged among families through a digital point-based rewards system.
Only 14% of all recyclable plastic waste makes its way to recycling plants. In a lot of countries, waste-pickers scavenge through dumpsters and collect the discarded plastic to sell to aggregators for a nominal amount. An estimated 15 million people in the world work as waste-pickers. Through the rewards-based digital point system for recycling, so+ma aims to encourage recycling in families and also streamline the collecting process for waste-pickers.
The system involves establishing stations named Casa so+ma. Families can bring their collected recyclables to the station to be weighed and exchanged for digital points. The points can later be exchanged for essential goods like groceries, food and wellness products. Additionally, members can exchange the points for income enhancing rewards like courses and soft-skill programs.
so+ma offers a number of advantages through its rewards-based system like:
The entire system is free, with no annual or transaction fees
It encourages residential recycling among communities
It offers income enhancing courses in fashion, sewing and cooking among others, as rewards
Waste pickers can sell to aggregators more effectively, as the waste is cleaned and sorted
Since its inception in 2015, so+ma has achieved the following milestones:
Served 700 families
Recycled 85 tonnes of waste into stitches
In 2019, so+ma started operating in its third neighborhood and was one of the three winners of the 2019 Acumen-Unilever Social Innovation Challenge on Plastics.
so+ma aims to bring the recycling program to schools with the awarded $25000 funding.
Claudia holds a Masters in Sustainability Management and a Post-Degree in Behavioral Economics. She was previously the Brazil Head of Sustainability at Pepsico. She is the Founder of So+Ma Vantagens and the CEO of the same.