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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Straw by Straw was founded in 2016 with the aim to decrease the number of plastic drinking straws used in Europe every year by leveraging hollow grain stocks left over from harvest.
A line of plastic straws around the globe every 2 days is used within the fast food chains in Europe. This means that a total use, including beverage brands, events and the hospitality industry is even more.
Harvest straws are more eco-friendly than straws made out of corn starch, potato starch, paper because they turn agricultural waste into value.
Straw by Straw straws are designed by nature, 100% organic, biodegradable and compostable. Every year around the world, when grains are harvested from the fields, the stems of the cereal plants stay behind. As the stalks remain on land, they are often burned or used for animal bedding. For the purpose of their straws, these grain stalks are collected, cut by hand, sterilized and readied to be served. This way they turn leftover waste into value while replacing single use plastics at the source.
These straws have a variety of benefits:
They don't get soggy and don't break while consumer is drinking
With their natural structure, the straws feel soft and smooth
Super compostable. PLA and sugar cane straws need industrial installations to biodegrade. Their straws just need nature.
Straw by Straw also collaborates with hospitality and event industries to accomplish their mission of motivating everyone to adopt a conscious and eco friendly lifestyle.
Everlyn holds a Master of Science degree in Marketing from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU Amsterdam). She is also the Co-founder of WoooHooo, a software tool that tracks real time data with emojis.
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