Will compostable packaging break down? Compostable labels short guide
Compostable packaging looks like and feels like the usual one. Even packaging professionals (like me) can't make the difference out.
That's why ordering compostable bags or buying products in compostable pouches we give packaging the credit of trust. We hope that it will break down in compostable bin or industrial facility.
The only thing you can do to be sure your choose the right packaging provider is to ask (and for sure to check) if it passed the certification in the following bureaus (mostly depending on the region). You can find the databases and logos below. And for sure, you can always write us and ask for clarification.
1. TÜV AUSTRIA Belgium (OK Compost). Europe
2. BPI. US
3. BNQ. Canada
4. Australia and New Zealand
5. JBPA (GreenPla). Japan
6. "DIN-Geprüft". Germany
7. “Compostable CIC”. Italy
Database not found
And below you can find information concerning compostable testing standards that can be found on labels.
ASTM D5338 Standard Test Method for Determining Aerobic Biodegradation of Plastic Materials Under Controlled Composting Conditions, Incorporating Thermophilic Temperatures.
ASTM D5338 evaluates the biodegradation of plastic materials under controlled composting conditions. Controlled composting conditions are considered those conditions where oxygen, temperature, moisture, and pH levels of the compost are maintained at optimal levels. Commercial composting facilities are the relevant disposal compartment for materials that undergo assessments based on this type of test method. The duration of the test can be up to 180 days. No explicit thresholds or classifications are permitted based on method language for certification purposes.
ASTM D5988 - Standard Test Method for Determining Aerobic Biodegradation in Soil of Plastic Materials or Residual Plastic Materials After Composting.
ASTM D5988 evaluates the aerobic biodegradation of plastic materials in soil. The method can be used as a complementary method to ASTM D5338 in an effort to determine if residual material not degraded in the timeframe of D5338 can be further degraded after the compost is integrated into the soil environment. The maximum duration of the test is 6 months. No explicit thresholds or classifications are permitted based on method language for certification purposes.
ASTM D6400 Standard Specification for Compostable Plastics.
ASTM D6400 is a specification providing criteria to make claims of “Compostable”. The specification involves testing the plastic material for (1) disintegration (2) biodegradation and (3) ecological impacts. A heavy metals analysis is also conducted to ensure the material is within standard limits provided for healthy composting. The disintegration testing and biodegradation testing are conducted concurrently. Disintegration is evaluated by sieving the compost-plastic mixture after a set time to measure the amount of plastic that passes through the sieve. Biodegradation is a measure of the conversion of organic carbon to CO2 under aerobic, thermophilic composting conditions. ASTM D5338 is the test method used to evaluate the biodegradation. Ecological impacts are evaluated via OECD 208, which is a plant growth test. Residual compost is mixed with soil in specified proportions to evaluate the ability of standard plant-types to thrive in the compost residues. This specification allows for the classification of a plastic material of Compostable if all threshold criteria are met.
ISO 14855 - Determination of the ultimate aerobic biodegradability of plastic materials under controlled composting conditions - Method by analysis of evolved carbon dioxide
ISO 14855 evaluates the ultimate aerobic biodegradability of plastic materials under controlled composting conditions. This test method is nearly identical to ASTM D5338 in execution. Controlled composting conditions are maintained throughout the test, including oxygen and moisture content, temperature, and pH. Biodegradation is measured as the percentage of organic carbon converted to CO2. The test duration is 180 days. No explicit thresholds or classifications are permitted based on method language for certification purposes.
Here the table of the popular materials break down