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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Tire Soul developed a technology where the tyres are recycled in an innovative way, without using chemical, thermal or any shredding process. This material is then made available to the footwear industry, giving the tyre a second life.
Nearly 1000 million tyres are thrown away yearly. According to the EPA and the Rubber Manufacturers Association, 80% is recycled. Even though this is high, there is still 20% of tyres that are being rejected and thrown away, polluting the environment.
The patented process firstly consists of the extraction of the tyre treads from the tyre. Then, the tyre rubber sheets are palletized to supply the footwear industry.
The material rigorously complies the Reach Regulation and it can be used in several production processes, gluing, vulcanisation, foxing, sewing, etc. The material is mainly used to make the outsole of the shoes. A tyre tread is an average 180cm long and 14cm wide tyre rubber sheet. The thickness can be adjusted to any value between 3mm and 8mm. The measures can vary slightly depending on the tyre of origin. With each tread, 3 to 4 pairs of shoes can be made (they can be die cut into 6 to 8 soles depending on their size). According to Tire Soul, by avoiding the act of treating, shredding and incinerating the tyres, this saves 0.5 kg of CO2 for each recovered tyre. This innovation also avoids the production of rubber for soles.
Tire Soul currently has 4 different shoe models from Michelin.