How to Recognize Compostable Packaging in the United States
Compostable packaging is a hot topic today, but as a consumer, how do you know when you see a package that claims to be compostable, that it really is? That after the composting process the package will disappear completely and go back into the soil just like organic waste?
There is a way – It’s called the Compostable Logo and this is how it came about and how it works.
The science and standards behind the Compostable Logo
Since “biodegradable packaging” was first introduced in the market place in the late 1980’s there has been confusion about compostability claims. To address this confusion, in 2002 tests were introduced to scientifically prove that materials will biodegrade, leaving no persistent synthetic residues.
These tests have resulted in standards known as are ASTM D6400 and ASTM D6868 which addresses biodegradable coatings.
Certification to assure that products meet ASTM D6400 and ASTM D6868 standards is done by the Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI), a professional association of key individuals and groups from government, industry and academia, which promotes the use, and recycling of biodegradable polymeric materials (via composting). The BPI is open to any materials and products that demonstrate (via scientifically proven techniques) that their products are completely biodegradable in approved composting facilities.
Certification of products by BPI assures that products have been tested — and independently verified by a reputable lab — to meet ASTM D6400 or ASTM D6868. BPI certification settles for once and for all the question of ‘will it compost?’.
The BPI maintains a data base of certified compostable products and so it is really easy for anyone to verify if a product that is advertised as compostable, really is compostable.
To make compostable products that meet the required standards easy to identify, BPI has also created the Compostable Logo. This logo is designed to be easily recognizable and able to be placed on the actual product as well as packaging materials and sales literature.
What this means to you
Today, it is possible to have fully functional, consumer-friendly packages for your flexible packaging needs – for your fresh produce, grains, coffee beans, hot snacks and even zipped-bags for daily storage.
If these packages are made by Tipa, like this one from Farma Cultura, you will see the Compostable Logo and be assured that this package is BPI certified and 100% compostable!