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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The Better Packaging Co. is a startup that provides sustainable packaging solutions.
Having seen firsthand the amount of plastic waste generated by the e-Commerce industry, the company’s founders decided to begin with a focus on providing alternatives to single-use, plastic courier packaging.
Their mission now is to find the world’s most sustainable packaging solutions, solutions that consider the complete lifecycle impact of a product, from raw material sourcing, right through to end-of-life disposal.
The Better Packaging Co. has developed two ranges of revolutionary products:
ØPACK Range: it is made from limestone quarry waste and recycled HDPE resin. It is waterproof, antibacterial and recyclable.
comPOST Range: partly made of plants and will biodegrade with no toxic residues. These products are even certified home compostable (certified AS 5810 & AS 4736 - Australian Home Compostable & Australian Industrially Compostable Certifications, Ok Home Compost - European Home Compostable Certification).
The Better Packaging Co. custom make packaging for large clients and works with many brands from small Etsy sellers right through to large brands such as L’Oreal, RipCurl, Karen Walker, KitX, WelleCo, Tigerlily, and more.
Rebecca completed her Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry from the University of Canterbury. She has worked with Peace Software as a Project Manager, CGNZ as a Senior consultant and in Vodafone as their Project Manager.
She was COO of StarShipIT, where she became aware of the amount of packaging waste being generated by the eCommerce industry, following which she decided to start The Better Packaging Co.
Co-Founder & Director
Kate completed her Bachelor of Science with First Class Honours in Chemistry from the University of Otago. She has worked with Booz Allen Hamilton as an Associate prior to founding Dumbo Feather magazine. While acting as a freelance marketing and branding consultant to StarShipIT she began working with Rebecca, with whom she went on to found The Better Packaging Co.