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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TriCiclos describes themselves as "a cultural change B Corp masqueraded as a recycling company". The history of TriCiclos began in 2009 in Chile with the dream of creating a company based on the triple bottom line of sustainability (social, environmental and financial).
The biggest challenge is to bring a conceptual change in the way people relate to the products they consume and dispose them and be able them to identify when a product actually contains recyclable materials in the same way they realize when a product is designed to prevent their only final destination in a landfill. Change begins in our buying habits and how we make the choices for the products we consume on a daily basis.
Triciclos works to enhance recycling globally, ensuring that those materials that pass through their operations will have a final destination in recycling industries. They create spaces and procedures to take care of recyclable materials and show new cycles that add value to the materials. This is achieved through small actions, often by simply eliminating organic waste residues that might be present in its packaging; and doing basic sorting of the materials. Small simple actions to the consumer that often end up enabling massive recycling as the mixed or contaminated material damages and negatively impacts this process. The preparation of clean and segregated materials makes a huge difference to the final result of recycling. The big shift towards this more responsible culture and consumption will come through a gradual and continuous change that starts with each of us.
Currently their headquarters are in Brazil, and they are starting activities in several countries. The company has been certified B Corp outside North America.
Gonzalo is the CEO TriCiclos, BLab board member, Cofundador de SistemaB and Presidente de Polkura. He has studied at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Universidad de Chile and Universidad de León