Although compost rots into soil, compost bags are almost always made of non-biodegradable plastic.
The Composting Association has launched the UK’s first certification scheme for compostable packaging. The scheme has been operating in Germany since 1997, where it is run by Din Certco, the German Institute for Standardisation. It has been brought to the UK in a partnership between Din Certco and the Composting Association, enabling certification to DIN V 54900, BS EN 13432 and ASTM D 64000 standards.
Din Certco product manager Markus Weber told the Composting Association’s AGM earlier this month: “UK packaging producers will, through this scheme, be able to prove beyond doubt that their products are compostable and not just biodegradable.”
To gain certification, the materials, intermediates and additives are tested in four areas: a chemical test for heavy metals; complete biodegradation; disintegration under compost conditions; and a plant toxicity ecological test.
The compostability mark informs consumers and disposers, and the package must bear the inscription “compostable”, as well as the registration number assigned to it during the certification process.
Composting Association chief executive Dr Jane Gilbert said: “This new scheme will greatly help many different aspects of the composting industry. Not only will it enable local authorities to specify collection bags they know their composters will be happy to accept, but it will also help in reducing the amount of packaging waste that goes to landfill.”
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