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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Synova was founded in 2012 and offers a proprietary technology for converting waste-to-value, and it both sells the equipment and develops projects which deploy the technology. It can be used to convert all types of waste feedstock (except hazardous, radioactive, etc.) to power, fuels, and chemicals. In particular, they can convert waste into primary chemical feedstock to produce virgin plastic, promoting closed loop or circular economy recycling.
The Company's technology gasifies and strips post-recycled waste or biomass of its contaminants, creating a stable, green alternative to natural gas, suitable for chemical production or use in engines or combined cycle gas turbines, the most efficient forms of power production.
The technology is inherently clean and cost effective, with contaminants removed before the gas is used via a process that has roughly 1/10th the volume of competing technologies like incineration or conventional gasification, so less steel, less gas to compress, and more effective gas cleaning that is aligned with the public interest.
The net effect allows attractive project returns with economics which are disruptive in the developed world and offer the first practical solution for the huge unmet need in the developing world, while reducing greenhouse gas in each, forever precluding collected waste from entering our fresh water or oceans, and substantially reducing the need to boost tipping fees.
Synova works with both public and private organizations. They have been selected by The Sustainable Packaging Coalition and The Center for the Circular Economy at Closed Loop Partners among five entrepreneurs and startups that are capable of successfully recovering multi-material flexible packaging waste for new uses.