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.
Thank you for your interest in Ubuntoo. We’re excited that you’re here! To continue, you’ll need an account with us.
Founded in 2016 by five seasoned experts in the fields of waste management, software and robotic development, Waste Robotics (WR) is delivering robotic solutions to the waste recycling sector by integrating advanced waste handling processes, computer vision, deep learning algorithms and state-of-the-art robotic technologies to enable smaller, more precise, safer and more profitable waste recycling facilities.
One of the most pressing problems we citizens face doing waste management is the segregation of waste and the human intervention required in this process of segregation to recycling. There are around 90,000 human pickers in North American recycling centres. The company is building intelligent recycling robots that would replace these increasingly expensive and rare human pickers.
Waste Robotics' sorting robot is a device that initially allows the recognition of waste passing on a conveyor using three separate cameras. If the first two cameras are used by the robot to determine the size and position of the waste, the third camera, which is a hyperspectral camera, determines the composition of the materials.
Waste Robotics has three applications - organic recycling, single stream recycling and construction & demolition recyling. Usually, garbage is thrown in separate bags, mostly recyclable bags, organic waste and all non recyclable items are mixed together.
In the case of organic recycling: if the bags of organic waste are collected by a single truck with the rest of the garbage, Waste Robotics intelligent robot automatically sorts the organic waste bags at the transfer station, in order to recover them for composting or biogas.
Single stream recycling refers to a system in which all kinds of recyclables such as plastics, paper, metals, glass etc. are put into a single bin by consumers. Afterward, the recyclables are collected and transported to the sorting centers where the intelligent robot sorts these items. Once the waste is identified by the sorter robot, a robotic arm classifies them very quickly. This technology reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills.
This technology can also be applied to construction and demolition material sorting as well.
The company mentions that this solution can be economically cheaper to municipalities and is citizen-friendly, clean and odorless. Waste Robotics reduces the cost of implementing robotics in sorting centers while doing both sorting and quality control of recyclable materials.
Waste Robotics robots are able to recognize hundreds of different materials. Among other things, they can accurately determine the quality of the wood, the differences between aggregates and plastics. This, according to them, decrease hours of operations, decrease HR management, increase quality of the final product and allow a fast return on investment.
Waste Robotics has received a $1.4 million investment from the federal government through the Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) foundation. Their solution also won the Grandmother’s Pitch Prize at StartupFest in 2017, and won the 2018 Startup Challenge at the Quebec Environmental Technologies Show.
Michel possesses over 30 years of business development, waste and environmental mitigation expertise. He has completed an MBA from University of Ottawa before having led and managed large engineering projects.
Chief Operating Office/ Chief Technology Officer
Eric cumulates over 25 years of innovative business management experience as a leading edge technology entrepreneur. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering from McGill University.