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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TUSTI was founded in 2015 by the cooperation of Eindhoven University of Technology Holding and Stiphout (Stiphout Industries, Stip Recycling and Stiphout Plastics). This collaboration brings together experience in plastic recycling and high tech knowledge at a University. They create value from waste streams and increase the recycling potential of plastic waste.
Oils and greasy residues on plastic are the nightmare of every plastic converter. Fat pollutes machines, makes storage smelly and causes health risks when going rancid. Another side effect when using the oily plastics in products, is that fat deteriorates the mechanical properties. Current recycling technology cannot clean this waste stream without using excessive energy or corrosive and unhealthy chemicals. Oily plastics are therefore sent to incinerators, a waste of high (often food-grade) quality materials.
TUSTI is a high tech recycling company that solves recycling issues and treats waste streams that other recycling companies cannot handle. This is how the company came to their first invention: a cleaning process to remove frying oil from HDPE. TUSTI limits itself to using only harmless, environmental friendly cleaning agents and uses waste water and electricity generated at the nearby waste site. Additionally, TUSTI intends to hire people with poor job prospects to work in the cleaning factory and logistics.
The patent pending technology of TUSTI makes recycling of greasy plastics possible. TUSTI brings high-tech knowledge at university level to the recycling industry. The company buys dirty plastics, shreds and cleans them using its high tech recycling process and sells the cleaned plastic regrind to manufacturers. Waste water is sent to a huge water treatment installation. The required energy is generated from landfill gas at the nearby municipal waste site. The Stiphout Plastics factory uses waste water and certified green energy from gas generated at the waste disposal site, where the factory is located. The liquids (water, oil and cleaner) are separated using sophisticated separation technology. In that way they re-use the cleaning agent and supply the purified oil to biofuel producers. This cleaning process is operated at room temperature to minimize the energy demand. The efficient separation processes ensures that the cleaning agent can be efficiently used time after time.
Jan Kolijn is a chemical engineer with a strong drive towards results from innovation. Working for PTG/e, he guided more than 50 SMEs in the past 5 years to improve their processes or solve technological problems. Being TUSTI CTO, he is responsible for all technology, process improvement, patents/IP and the daily business in the TUSTI lab.
Co-Founder & CEO
Eline is an experienced owner with a demonstrated history of working in the plastics industry. She co-founded TUSTI B.V in 2015 and has been the owner of Stiphout Industries since 2013 and the CEO of Stiphout Plastics B.V. since 2015.