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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TrashCon is on a mission to automate the Waste Management space with its innovations. The company already had its patent even before it came into incorporation. The company entered the market as manufacturers of Municipal Solid Waste (MSW) segregators that can segregate mixed Municipal Solid Waste into biodegradable and non-biodegradable components. They also find applications in recycling units, waste to energy plants, domestic and commercial establishments and municipal corporations.
The current practice is to utilize manual segregation which gives them intermittent and infrequent input at low margin. Nearly 1 Lakh (100,000) tons of waste is generated in India everyday out of which only 5% is segregated and recycled leaving the rest to go to landfills. Traditional waste to energy plants cost millions of dollars to setup, making them economically unviable for most municipalities in India.
TrashCon has built a technology that can take any unsegregated trash and automatically segregate it into bio-waste and non-bio waste to an efficiency of 99.6%. After segregation, Bio-waste is used as manure and to produce Bio-gas, while other waste is used to make oil, plastic roads, interlocking tiles and much more! They have also developed another machine that can compressed waste into boards.
This system occupies space not more than a room, consumes power equal to a small apartment, can be placed anywhere, requires minimal manpower to operate and saves cost of transportation, manpower by 75% and generate value. With the technology, TrashCon customers have had 100% profit margins after only 2 years of installation and 8 times increase in revenue generated by composting units. For recycling units, TrashCon has generated an 85% increase in revenue. In addition to that, they had a 90% reduction in processing time and a 70% reduction in the number of tipper vehicles required.
TrashCon technology is enabling de-centralized municipal solid waste separation using a semi-automatic Municipal Solid Waste Segregator for every 4000 households.