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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Flipflopi is a sailing boat made from plastic waste and flip-flops collected from beaches and towns on the Kenyan coast.
There is clearly a huge lag between the scale of the ocean plastics problem and the level of awareness about it amongst everyday consumers. The FlipFlopi Projectis committed to changing that.
The organization's mission is to sail a 100% recycled plastic boat around the world to inspire and engage local, regional and global communities with the message that single-use plastic shouldn’t exist - but instead should be re-used, re-purposed and recycled as part of a sustainable circular economy.
The first Flipflopi Dhow has been made by local craftsmen from Lamu Island using traditional methods and plastic waste mainly collected from the beaches around this island and from re-purposed flip-flops. It has done several expeditions in its regional waters to engage local people and spread the message. The team is now building a bigger boat that will sail around the world, starting in the Indian Ocean region, departing from Lamu in 2021 and it will sail through the coast of Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique and South Africa to reach Cape Town after a mission of 3 to 4 months, during which the team will organize and join a number of beach clean-ups as well as visit recycling centers.
850 million people globally engaged
10,000 people locally engaged
1800 km traveled
10 tonnes of plastic recycled
Beside this expedition, the organization encourage company and individuals to join the #Plasticrevolution to know about the opportunities to get involved in the FlipFlopi expedition, and things each can do - large & small, fun or serious.
Prior to building colourful boats out of plastic, Ben spent a decade building a travel business focused on Africa. As a direct response to the alarming degradation of this coastline by plastics, and flip-flops in particular, Ben started the FlipFlopi Project.
Co-Founder, Master boat builder
Ali comes from a family of carpenters and dhow builders in Lamu and is a renowned 'master carver' and Dhow Fundi (builder) in his own right. He is passionate about Lamu's heritage and about preserving the health of the oceans both for marine life and coastal peoples worldwide.
Co-Founder, Project leader
Having lived on the Kenyan Coast for seven years, Dipesh became addicted to trash. He was obsessed with what else one could do with all the flip-flops and discarded bottles that he picked off the beach and building giant size sculptures from flip-flops as well as houses and other structures from plastic bottles.