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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Uflex has pioneered the growth of the flexible packaging industry in India. Founded in 1988, Uflex has manufacturing facilities in India and overseas in Dubai, Mexico, USA, Poland & Egypt.
The company, which describes itself as a pioneer in multilayer plastic manufacturing and recycling, says it is scaling up its recycling strength to help build a circular economy. The company indicates that the pilot plant in its Noida facility has been designed to accept collected postconsumer PET Bottles as well as multi-layer plastic film and convert them into chips and granules. That output can in turn, be “put into further use to make products with economic value,” said UFlex as stated by Recycling Today.
Uflex Ltd has shown that plastic is recyclable with their machine. The pellets produced from recycled plastics can be used for making buckets, mugs and dustbins; park benches; tiles and tables; and roads and road dividers.
The company claims that the machine that it has developed can produce pellets at a rate of 250 kg per hour. “Since the process involved is ‘cooking’ plastic waste, there is no emission of noxious gases, unlike the incineration process. And since it is cooking, the process requires only moderate temperatures, and hence is not very energy-intensive,” Chaturvedi told Businessline.