Standards & Certification
There are currently few international organizations which have established standards and testing methods for compostability. The ASTM, CEN and DIN standards specify the criteria for biodegradation, disintegration, eco-toxicity and biobased content for a plastic to be called compostable/renewable:
- American Society for Testing and Materials ASTM-6400-99 (Standard Specification for Compostable Plastics); ASTM D6866 (method for determining the renewable/biobased content of materials)
- European Standardization Committee (CEN) EN13432 (Requirements for packaging recoverable through composting and biodegradation)
- International Standards Organization (ISO) ISO14855 (only for biodegradation)
Although each standardization organization has its own standards, they are mutually harmonized. European and American certification organizations both recognize each other’s standards in the field of polymers, plastics and compostable products.
A certificate is an official document used to guarantee a specific characteristic. In the case of biodegradable polymer materials, a certificate is an attestation that a product is degradable under the conditions specified in the standard. In the case of materials made from renewable resources, the certificate proves that the product contains a specific percentage of renewable content.
The most important certification organizations in Europe are DIN Certco and Vincotte. They issue certificates containing a label of the certification authority and stating the standards on which the certificate is based and a certification number. The validity of the certificate can be verified on the certification organization website. Only final products are allowed to use the certification label proving that a product is compostable. The certificate distinguishes the product from other products and proves that a material conforms to standard requirements. This is a clear advantage over other products that do not have the certificate.
Products that bear certification logos give consumers a beyond-doubt proof of product/material properties. The certification logo for compostable plastics enables simpler sorting of waste and correct handling and it provides a guarantee about the product’s quality.
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