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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They are a social enterprise. 50% of their profits are donated to charities that focus on empowering women, with the main focus being education and menstrual support. Tsuno is currently working in partnership with One Girl, who provide education scholarships and sanitary pads to marginalised girls in Sierra Leone and Uganda. They are also proud to have already donated to and continue to support the work of The International Women's Development Agency, Share the Dignity, The Asylum Seekers Resource Centre and Essentials for Women South Australia.
Tsuno pads are made from a natural bamboo (not viscose, which means no harsh chemicals used to process it), and corn fibre top sheet, individually wrapped in biodegradable sleeves, and finally packaged in recyclable cardboard boxes. Bamboo is one of the most eco-friendly and sustainable fibres available due to its fast growth-rate, low demands on resources and natural resistance to pests and fungi. It is also super absorbent, breathable, soft and comfortable, antibacterial.
There is also no chlorine or dioxin bleach used in the manufacturing process. They have recently added certified organic cotton tampons certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS). They believe using certified organic cotton is a non negotiable for their tampons. They think pesticides, fertilisers and unhealthy farming practices have no place in their products, or their beautiful customers' vaginas.
The packaging features different editions of different artist's work. To date they have featured the work of Erin Lightfoot, Tim Royall, Evi O, Eloise Rapp and Andrea Shaw on their packets of pads and tampons.