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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Vividye is a startup founded in 2020 that has developed a technology that allows textiles to be sustainably de-colored and re-colored.
With fast-changing fashion trends, there is an increasing demand for clothing. But coloring textiles directly and indirectly uses up water and petroleum-based fertilizers and pesticides.
Existing re-coloring processes involve harmful chemicals and damage the fabric. Vividye's technology aims to offer a sustainable alternative. The technology evolved at the Chalmers University of Technology where surface chemists worked on issues related to color efficiency in the textile industry.
The technology aims to replace cotton dyeing with pigment-based coloring. The technology would be able to control the electrostatic interactions between pigments and fabric. This would allow the colors to be applied and stripped without affecting the mechanical properties of the fabric.
The startup has been able to demonstrate the technology in its laboratory using wet dyeing and digital printing on cellulose fabric. It aims to developing inkjet inks compatible with commercial digital printers.
The technology also allows water and chemicals used in coloring to be collected and re-used.
The startup aims to be able to allow consumers to revive faded clothes or update the colors and designs on clothing. It is exploring options to partner with fashion brands. It also intends to provide recycled cotton fibers to textile manufacturers.
In January 2020, the startup received the H&M & ELLE's Conscious Award. In February 2020 it joined the incubator at the Chalmers Venture Program.