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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Tide Ocean Material believes in cleaner oceans, a sustainable lifestyle and in waste as a resource. For this reason, they have partnered with Swiss scientists to develop #tide ocean material made from 100% ocean-bound plastic. They transform the plastics threatening our oceans into new sustainable products.
Together with social enterprises, they are collecting ocean-bound plastic in Southeast Asia, coordinated by a #tide subsidiary in Ranong, Thailand. On five islands in the Andaman Sea, local fishermen are being trained and paid to gather and sort plastic waste. The material is registered, washed and shredded in a social enterprise which is being implemented by the Swiss non-profit Jan & Oscar Foundation and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
They collect PET, polypropylene, and polyethylene. With Swiss precision, know-how and with the help of clean solar energy, the plastic waste threatening our oceans is upcycled into a versatile granular material. The #tide granules are used for plastic injection for watches, furniture, electronic devices, automotive parts and any type of hard plastic product. The #tide yarn can be used for apparel, bags, shoes, home & office interiors and any other project using high quality polyester textiles.
#tide has partnered with TRIWA watches and Jason Hyde jewelry who use their recycled ocean plastics. In January 2020, they won the Swiss Plastics Expo Award for sustainability.