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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Incorporated in 2010 in San Jose, California,Zero Waste Energy designs, constructs and operates solid waste handling and advanced composting facilities. The company was set up by industry experts - Bulk Handling Systems.
Their machines sort and separate organic waste (and reduce the waste stream) and then produce energy from it.Biogas energy can be produced from the waste matter by treating the organic matter by Anaerobic Digestion to produce biogas or renewable CNG. Meanwhile, in-vessel composting of organic waste produces compost. They also work in the recovery of oil from plastics.
The facilities they offer are :
RECOVERY system : their Material Recovery Facility for sorting and separating waste,
ZWE works with its partners towards achieving zero waste by providing customized solutions. Their projects are the result of long cooperation over many years. The different steps in which they work are :
Process Parameters & Conceptual Design
Project Permitting Support
Front-End Engineering Design
Project Management, Equipment Procurement & Training
ZWE has some major projects to its credit such as the Blueline Biogenic CNG Facility, USA, NAPA Recycling and Waste Services, and Monterey Regional Waste Management District. They have been invited by Los Angeles to handle their waste problem.
All of ZWE machines are produced and installed in the USA. ZWE has been covered by press and media such as CCTV America and Popular Science.