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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Upp! UpCycling Plastic is a young Dutch company set up with the aim to help solve the problem of plastic waste. Upp!, offers a solution by up-cycling plastic waste into sustainable, eco-friendly and yet, durable construction materials; such as planks and poles that could be used to make board-walks, decks for jetties, bridges, corridors, balconies, and so much more.
Upp! Wants to make the world cleaner and greener by recycling the plastic waste into planks and poles to be used for benches, foot-paths or retaining walls in the cities. And since their products are durable and 100% recyclable, we can build a circular business as well. Upp! is currently active in the Netherlands and in Vietnam. In both countries they want to complete at least 4 demo-projects before the end of the year, to show that their business concept works. In Vietnam, they are working on a project with beach-furniture and deck material for a marina that wants to become plastic free. With a local project developer they use local plastic waste to make construction materials that will be used in a new residential area.
They are also involved in a project to get the Mekong Delta plastic-free and use this plastic to make benches, planters, deck for jetties and much more. In Amsterdam, the Netherlands they are making worm-hotels (composting bins) out of recycled local plastic waste. They are also working on vandalism and terrorism proof street furniture for a couple of municipalities.
They want to process North Sea & IJsselmeer plastic to be used at the upgrade of the Icon Afsluitdijk. In 2025 Upp! wants to save 250 thousand tons of plastic from incineration, our environment and our oceans every year. They want to be involved in 10 zero-waste-cities in at least 10 countries.