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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WasteBoards wants to turn the tide of plastic pollution by involving as many people as possible, creating value from plastic waste - while having fun doing it.
That’s why they manufacture high-quality skateboards from plastic bottle caps. They collect these bottle caps together with the visitors of music events, school kids, companies, you name it. Each WasteBoard is made by hand. And each design is completely unique because no single color pattern is the same as any other. They want to raise awareness about plastic and show people its value if it is well recycled. To show that waste can be turned into raw material for cool stuff.
In just 2 hours they bake a unique board.
How do they do it?
Collection of the Caps: all plastic caps used in WasteBoards are recycled waste. They are collected at music festivals where plastic waste is a major issue. Or fished from the Amsterdam canals by Plastic Whale, the first professional plastic fishing company.
Stuffing the Mold: they create different designs by placing the caps in any particular order in the mold.
Baking the Board: every WasteBoard is unique. While heating, the plastic caps in the oven they melt in any direction they please. But due to the special baking process the bottle caps remain clearly visible.
Assembly: the plastic caps are melted and pressed in a massive aluminum mold weighing 70 kg. Both parts of the mold are screwed together by the sheer muscle force of dedicated WasteBoard bakers. After cooling off they take out the new board and proudly place it next to its brothers and sisters.
The company has also built the world's first Mobile Board Bakery, allowing them to create boards on the spot at festivals and events. The first festival visited was Amsterdam Open Air in 2016. The plastic caps used in the WasteBoards Bakery come directly from the event. Baking boards on the spot have proven to be a fantastic opportunity to inspire people and to connect with the audience. They started in Amsterdam but their mission is to create WasteBoards wherever possible.
Twenty shops around the world sell their skateboards at present. People in Indonesia and other European countries want to duplicate the baking units to get rid of plastic and create jobs. Morris Smit is the co-founder of Wasteboards and Jonathan Morrison is head of Operations at WasteBoards, which was started in 2015. The project has been covered widely by the press.