“Compostable” and “biodegradable”: update on permitted claims

Compostable products and packaging are more and more present in the daily life of consumers. As a result of legislative and social developments, many manufacturers are turning to the production of compostable and biodegradable products or packaging. However, legislation is constantly evolving and it is not always easy to keep track of it. Do you know what claims can be made on compostable products or packaging? Read our summary.

Icon for compostability tests at WESSLING

Among the provisions of the so-called Anti-Waste for a Circular Economy (Agec) law in France is Article 13, which supplements Article 541-9 of the Environmental Code and provides details of the claims that may be displayed on packaging and in particular the terms “biodegradable” and “compostable”.

To avoid causing confusion to consumers, the legislator imposes the three points below, which you must take into account in designing and marketing your products and packaging:

  1. Plastic products and packaging that are only compostable in an industrial facility may not carry the “compostable” label.
  2. Plastic products and packaging that can be composted in domestic or industrial composting facilities are labelled “Do not throw in the environment”.
  3. It is prohibited to label a product or packaging with the words “biodegradable”, “environmentally friendly” or any other equivalent wording.  

The correct use of these materials and the appropriate claims obviously also requires consumers to be informed. They must understand the information on the packaging to know how to recycle, compost or dispose of it. 

A product that can be composted in an industrial facility is not necessarily compostable in an individual home composter. On the other hand, the opposite is true: a product that can be composted at home is also compostable under industrial conditions. (Why? Take a look at our article on standards.) This is explained by the different composting conditions and the current standards. We have covered this topic in our previous article

WESSLING carries out tests to determine whether a product or packaging is compostable according to the relevant standards. We also monitor changes in the regulations to keep you informed.