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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Veganbottle® is a bioplastic bottle produced by the company Lyspackaging, through patented processes in sugar extraction and combination with other constituents.
Veganbottle uses material that is derived completely from biomass, in this case sugarcane. It is certified as food grade, and can be used as packaging for food. Some other materials that it can be combined with are wood, cork, apple, olive seeds, cereal, carrot and coffee. The company claims that this new bioplastic has a formulation which generates mechanical properties and barriers superior to other plant-based formulations.
The bottle is biodegradable and compostable in industrial facilities, according to EN13432. However, composting it in the backyard should not be attempted. It contains no oil, and when it breaks down it does not create the same problem as conventional plastic bottles that are a major source of ocean pollution. It is not just the bottle, but also the caps and the labels that are all compostable at the end of their life cycle.
Veganbottle was developed by Nicolas Moufflet and is produced in France. They have plans to expand and set up plants in North and Central America, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. Veganbottle has been covered by several prominent press and media agencies.
Lyspackaging also launched VeganbottleGo: it is made from sugarcane, reusable, biodegradable and compostable (it will decompose in less than 85 days within an industrial compost), light but very strong, without endocrine disruptors and without leaving any toxicity behind at the end of its lifetime.
VeganbottleGO is planting one tree for each bottle sold in order to neutralize its carbon footprint. The bottle can be pre-ordered HERE.