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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Threadwas founded in 2011 and has launched First Mile™ to support micro-economies in underdeveloped communities by collecting plastic bottles to support entrepreneurs and prevent waste from reaching landfills and oceans.
Post-consumer plastic is collected from Haiti and Honduras, which would have otherwise caused pollution in the streets and canals and finally the oceans.
Each collected bottle is sorted, cleaned, shredded, turned into yarn, then knitted or woven into fabric to ultimately become apparel, footwear, and accessories from brands around the world.
Thread use this waste to produce the material they call Ground to Good, in Thread’s workshop in Pittsburgh, creating some more jobs there as well. This not only reduces plastic waste which is recycled, but this secondary plastic is used as an alternative to cotton, and canvas saving enormous quantities of water. Once the fabric is ready it is sent to the brands they collaborate with, who then use it.
They have collaborations with some well-known brands like Converse, Reebok, Timberland and Marmot. They have also partnered with Riverview Fabrics, Idea Foundry, Good Company Ventures, Innovation Works, Blue Tree, Riverfront Ventures, and Draper Triangle. They are a certified B Corporation.