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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As one of the world’s leading specialty chemical companies, Clariant officially started construction of the first large-scale commercialSunliquidplant for the production of cellulosic ethanol made from agricultural residues. Cellulosic ethanol is an advanced, sustainable and practically carbon-neutral biofuel. It is produced from agricultural residue such as wheat straw and corn stover which is supplied by farmers.
The straw is converted into cellulosic sugars. This is followed by fermentation to produce cellulosic ethanol. By using plant residues, cellulosic ethanol can extend the current production of biofuels to new feedstock and contributes to optimizing the efficiency and sustainability of biofuels. Cellulosic sugars also have the potential to serve as a building block for future production of bio-based chemicals.
The sunliquid technology offers a fully integrated process design built on established process technology. Innovative technology features such as chemical-free pretreatment, the integrated production of feedstock and process-specific enzymes, and simultaneous C5 and C6 sugar fermentation ensure optimum cost-effectiveness.
The benefits are multiple:
Competitive production costs
Fully integrated process design
Flexible and modular Process Design package
Feedstock & process specific enzymes
Process integrated enzyme production
Simultaneous C5 and C6 fermentation
Energy self-sufficient process
95% greenhouse gas savings
No Food versus Fuel dilemma
The project received funding from the European Union's Seventh Framework Program for research, technological development and demonstration under Grant Agreement no. 322386 (FP7 SUNLIQUID) and from the Bio-Based Industries Joint Undertaking under the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under Grant Agreement no. 709606 (BBI LIGNOFLAG).