Analysis of the compostability of products

Waste reduction and the development of environmentally friendly solutions have now become a necessity imposed by society and the legislation that is gradually being introduced as a result.

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The development of compostable products is a response to these changes, because it allows waste to be recycled. WESSLING offers laboratory compostability tests to determine whether or not products are suitable for composting.

Compostability: added value to consumer products

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Supplying products or packaging that consumers can put in their composter or that communities can compost industrially to reduce the volume of their garbage brings real added value to the products, because it meets current and future social and environmental requirements.

Domestic and industrial compostability: two different standards

In France, product compostability is currently regulated by two different standards: NF EN 13432 and NF T51-800.

The NF T51-800 standard defines the characteristics that a product must have in order to be considered compostable in a private or domestic context. NF T51-800 is based on NF EN 13432, which regulates characterisation of a compostable product in an industrial environment. The two standards differ because the composting conditions are slightly different. In a domestic setting, smaller volumes are composted at lower temperatures. This makes the process more difficult, so that the demands placed on the products to be composted are greater.

WESSLING offers tests on packaging products and other products, of plastic, paper or bio-sourced materials, to determine whether they are compostable in a domestic or industrial context.

What tests are used to determine if a product is compostable?

WESSLING subjects products to the following successive tests. Packaging that has passed all four tests may be submitted to a certification body to obtain the appropriate label.

What tests are used to determine if a product is compostable?

01 Identification and chemical characterisation of product components

The constituents and physical characteristics of the product must be determined. 

Chimical tests are made

02 Biodegradation of the product

Determination of the product's capacity to be consumed by an appropriate microbial flora, via the conversion of organic carbon into carbon dioxide.

Biodegradation test at WESSLING

03 Disintegration of the product

Determination of the physical fragmentation of the product during composting.

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04 Ecotoxicity test

Determination of the quality of the compost resulting from disintegration. Verification that there is no risk of residues of the product tested to human health, animal health and the environment.

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Compostable products: what are they exactly?

Products tested by WESSLING and certified by a third-party certification body are compostable by private individuals and/or in an industrial environment. In concrete terms, a domestically compostable product can put in any composter. The certified product will degrade in the composter in a few weeks or months, depending on its characteristics.

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