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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Umincorp, established in 2012, has a high end innovative technology and the vision to revolutionize the plastics recycling industry. It is a joint venture between Synvase and the Delft University of Technology.
Our cities are responsible for the vast majority of the worldwide consumption of materials. Most of the materials we use on a daily basis can also be mined on a daily basis from the materials that we dispose of. Compared to conventional mining, this urban mine often has higher “ore” grades, is located close by and above ground.
Umincorp have developed a patented Magnetic Density Separation (MDS) technique that allows the separation of mixed waste including plastics through an environmentally friendly process using a cheap fluid. This technology uses ferromagnetic fluids and special designed magnets and can be applied in the field of recycling (urban mining), mineral processing (mining) and other application areas that demand high-reliable sorting in a profitable way. The company licenses its technology, offers machines to companies and is open to form exclusive partnerships with clients in specific market areas.
The largest MDS application for polymers is rigid packaging waste, and the polyolefin fraction in particular. Their highly accurate density sorting process is expected to double the recovery rate of rigid plastics from packaging waste and can separate the mixed plastics into PP, several PE, PET and PS products at lower cost and higher selectivity than the state-of-the-art Near Infra-Red (NIR) sensing and ejection technologies. By doing this, recycling of packaging polymers will become economically more attractive and at the same time reduce the pressure on plastic manufacturers that have difficulty sourcing sufficient volume of secondary polymers at a consistent quality.
They are focusing on increasing product purity and overall plastic recovery while lowering the costs of the plastic recycling chain as a means of reaching mass circularity of polymers.