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. You need to create an account to continue.
Please Susbscribe to get free access to our newsletter, solutions database, knowledge resources and more.
Founded in 2014, Zerocycle provides local governments with a revolutionary Resident Engagement Platform that significantly increases recycling and reduces waste. Their low-cost solution fuses rich data and behavioural science technology to help Cities and Municipalities achieve their recycling goals.
Instead of relying on costly sensors, Zerocycle consumes readily available route data, allowing local governments to launch the program within weeks.
They employ innovative algorithms that combine city-retained waste, recycling, and compost data with proprietary and open data sets to produce compelling, digestible, and neighbourhood-specific waste and recycling information.
Their flagship product is a citywide, normative comparison report for both city officials and homeowners that compares recycling effectiveness by Neighbourhood. Zerocycle sends these reports, which include full-color maps ranking Neighbourhoods’ diversion rates, to homeowners on behalf of the City. This fosters an environment of friendly competition that increases recycling throughout the region.
In Buffalo, Zerocycle’s initiative doubled the rate of increase in recycling tonnage across target households, leading the city to extend its engagement with Zerocycle and increase the number of target households by 400 percent. In Cincinnati, the initiative led to a 15.7 percent increase in recycling participation.