Biodegradable vs. Compostable

bio-plastic bottles
fossil plastic waste

Biodegradable vs. Compostable

Biodegradable and compostable are two terms that are often used interchangeably, but they actually have different meanings and implications. Understanding the differences between these two terms is important for making informed decisions about waste management and reducing the impact of human activities on the environment.

Biodegradable

Biodegradable refers to materials that can be broken down into natural elements by microorganisms, such as bacteria and fungi, over a period of time. This process is called biodegradation. The biodegradation of organic matter is a natural process that occurs in the environment, and it helps to recycle nutrients back into the ecosystem.

The time it takes for a material to biodegrade depends on several factors, including the type of material, the environment, and the presence of microorganisms. For example, a piece of fruit will biodegrade much more quickly than a plastic bag. Some biodegradable materials, such as paper, can break down in just a few weeks, while others, such as synthetic materials, can take hundreds of years to biodegrade.

Compostable

Compostable refers to materials that can be broken down into natural elements and used as a nutrient-rich soil amendment, commonly referred to as compost. Composting is a process of controlled biodegradation that can take place in a compost bin, compost pile, or composting facility.

To be considered compostable, a material must meet certain criteria. It must biodegrade into carbon dioxide, water, and organic matter in a short period of time, typically within 90 days. It must also break down into a compost that is safe for plants and the environment, free of harmful chemicals and pathogens.

Compostable materials include food waste, yard waste, and some biodegradable plastics. Compostable plastics are made from renewable resources, such as corn starch or sugarcane, and are designed to break down into compost under specific conditions.

Differences between Biodegradable and Compostable

The main difference between biodegradable and compostable is the end result of the biodegradation process. Biodegradable materials can break down into natural elements over time, but they may not necessarily be transformed into compost. Compostable materials, on the other hand, are designed to break down into compost and contribute to the growth of plants.

Another important difference is the time frame in which biodegradation occurs. Biodegradable materials can take a long time to break down, while compostable materials are designed to biodegrade in a short period of time, typically within 90 days.

The environmental impact of biodegradable and compostable materials also differs. Biodegradable materials can release methane, a potent greenhouse gas, as they break down. Compostable materials, on the other hand, release carbon dioxide, a less potent greenhouse gas, and contribute to the growth of plants.

It’s also important to note that not all biodegradable materials are compostable, and not all compostable materials are biodegradable. For example, some biodegradable plastics can take hundreds of years to biodegrade, while some compostable materials, such as yard waste, are not biodegradable.

 

OK compost certificate
ASTM standards - benefits of PLA

Conclusion

Biodegradable and compostable are two terms that are often used interchangeably, but they have distinct meanings and implications for waste management and the environment. Biodegradable refers to materials that can be broken down into natural elements over time, while compostable refers to materials that can be transformed into compost and used to support plant growth.

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PLA and anaerobic digestion

Polylactic Acid (PLA) is a biodegradable, bio-based polymer made from fermented plant sugars. The use of PLA as a feedstock for anaerobic digestion to produce biogas has gained attention as a way to reduce waste and produce renewable energy.

Anaerobic digestion is a biological process that occurs in the absence of oxygen, where microorganisms break down organic matter to produce biogas. The biogas produced through this process consists of methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2) and can be used as a renewable energy source.

Benefits of using PLA in anaerobic digestion include:

1- Sustainability: PLA is made from renewable resources, and its use in anaerobic digestion helps reduce waste and conserve resources.
2- Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions: Methane produced from anaerobic digestion is a potent greenhouse gas, and the use of PLA helps reduce these emissions by replacing non-renewable energy sources.
3- Energy production: The biogas produced from anaerobic digestion can be used to generate electricity and heat, providing a renewable energy source.
4- Increased yield: The addition of PLA to anaerobic digestion systems can increase the overall yield of biogas, as it is a readily biodegradable material.

However, there are also some negatives associated with the use of PLA in anaerobic digestion:
1- Processing issues: PLA can be difficult to process, as it has a low solubility in water and is resistant to degradation.
2- Cost: The cost of producing PLA can be higher than other feedstocks, and the added processing costs can also make the overall process more expensive.
3- Contamination: The addition of PLA to anaerobic digestion systems can cause contamination if not properly managed, affecting the overall yield and quality of the biogas produced.

The yield of biogas produced per kilogram of PLA can vary based on the type of anaerobic digestion system used, the conditions in the digester, and the quality of the PLA. However, studies have shown that the addition of PLA to anaerobic digestion systems can increase the overall yield of biogas by 10-15%.

When adding PLA to anaerobic digestion systems, it is important to consider the following factors:
– Compatibility: The type of anaerobic digestion system used should be compatible with the characteristics of PLA, such as its low solubility and resistance to degradation.
– Feedstock preparation: The PLA should be properly prepared before being added to the anaerobic digestion system, as contamination can affect the overall yield and quality of the biogas produced.
– Monitoring and control: The conditions in the anaerobic digestion system should be carefully monitored and controlled to ensure that the best conditions are maintained for biogas production.

In conclusion, the use of PLA in anaerobic digestion to produce biogas can provide several benefits, including increased sustainability and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. However, it is important to consider the negatives and properly manage the addition of PLA to ensure the best results. The yield of biogas produced per kilogram of PLA can vary, but the addition of PLA can increase the overall yield of biogas.

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Compostability Certifications in Australia

bio-plastic bottles

Compostability Certifications in Australia: An Overview

Composting is an important part of waste management and sustainability in Australia, and compostability certifications play a crucial role in ensuring that organic waste is disposed of in an environmentally friendly manner. In this article, we’ll look at the different compostability certifications in Australia.

Industrial Compostable Certifications

Industrial composting refers to the controlled process of breaking down organic waste into compost in a large-scale composting facility. Industrial compostable certifications are given to products that are suitable for this kind of composting and are biodegradable within a specified timeframe. The most widely recognized industrial compostable certifications in Australia are:

AS4736: This is an Australian standard for industrial compostability. It recognizes products that are biodegradable in an industrial composting environment within 180 days and leave no harmful residue in the compost.

AS5810: This is another Australian standard for industrial compostability. It recognizes products that are biodegradable in an industrial composting environment within a specified timeframe and leave no harmful residue in the compost.

Home Compostable Certifications

Home composting refers to the process of breaking down organic waste in a small-scale composting bin or heap. Home compostable certifications are given to products that are suitable for this kind of composting and are biodegradable within a specified timeframe. The most widely recognized home compostable certifications in Australia are:

AS5810: This is an Australian standard for home compostability. It recognizes products that are biodegradable in a home composting environment within a specified timeframe and leave no harmful residue in the compost.

Marine Compostable Certifications

Marine composting refers to the process of breaking down organic waste in a marine environment, such as the ocean or sea. Marine compostable certifications are given to products that are suitable for this kind of composting and are biodegradable within a specified timeframe. There are currently no widely recognized marine compostable certifications in Australia.

compostable milk bottles
compostable products PLA industrial composting faciilities

 

Conclusion

Compostability certifications play a crucial role in ensuring that organic waste is disposed of in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner in Australia. The different certifications cater to the different types of composting environments, such as industrial composting, home composting, and marine composting, and recognize products that are biodegradable within a specified timeframe. By choosing products with these certifications, consumers in Australia can contribute to a more sustainable future.

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Certificates for compostability USA

bio-plastic bottles

Compostability Certifications in the USA: An Overview

Composting is an important part of the circular economy and a sustainable way to manage organic waste in the United States. To ensure that products labeled as compostable are truly biodegradable and don’t harm the environment, the US has established compostability certifications. In this article, we’ll look at the different compostability certifications in the United States.

Industrial Compostable Certifications

Industrial composting refers to the controlled process of breaking down organic waste into compost in a large-scale composting facility. Industrial compostable certifications are given to products that are suitable for this kind of composting and are biodegradable within a specified timeframe. The most widely recognized industrial compostable certifications in the United States are:

ASTM D6400: This is a standard for industrial compostability in the US and is widely recognized. To be certified under ASTM D6400, a product must biodegrade within 180 days in an industrial composting facility and leave no harmful residue in the compost.

BPI (Biodegradable Products Institute): This is a US-based certification body that certifies products as industrially compostable according to the ASTM D6400 standard. The certification process involves laboratory testing and real-life composting tests.

Home Compostable Certifications

Home composting refers to the process of breaking down organic waste in a small-scale composting bin or heap. Home compostable certifications are given to products that are suitable for this kind of composting and are biodegradable within a specified timeframe. The most widely recognized home compostable certifications in the United States are:

ASTM D6868: This is a standard for home compostability in the US and recognizes products that are biodegradable in a home composting environment. The standard requires that the product biodegrade within 180 days and leave no harmful residue in the compost.

BPI (Biodegradable Products Institute): This US-based certification body certifies products as home compostable according to the ASTM D6868 standard. The certification process involves laboratory testing and real-life composting tests.

Marine Compostable Certifications

Marine composting refers to the process of breaking down organic waste in a marine environment, such as the ocean or sea. Marine compostable certifications are given to products that are suitable for this kind of composting and are biodegradable within a specified timeframe. The most widely recognized marine compostable certifications in the United States are:

ASTM D7081: This is a standard for marine compostability in the US and recognizes products that are biodegradable in a marine environment. The standard requires that the product biodegrade within a specified timeframe and leave no harmful residue in the marine environment.

BPI (Biodegradable Products Institute): This US-based certification body certifies products as marine compostable according to the ASTM D7081 standard. The certification process involves laboratory testing and real-life marine composting tests.

fossil plastic waste
plant-based bottle
compostable products PLA industrial composting faciilities

Conclusion

Compostability certifications play a crucial role in ensuring that organic waste is disposed of in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner in the United States. The different certifications cater to the different types of composting environments, such as industrial composting, home composting, and marine composting, and recognize products that are biodegradable within a specified timeframe. By choosing products with these certifications, consumers can contribute to a more sustainable future.

Let's change the world.Use plant-based plastic

Compostability certifications in Europe

OK compost certificate

Compostability Certifications in Europe: An Overview

Composting is a crucial part of the circular economy and a sustainable way to dispose of organic waste. Europe has been at the forefront of implementing compostability certifications to ensure that the products labeled as compostable are truly biodegradable and don’t harm the environment. In this article, we’ll look at the different compostability certifications in Europe, focusing on the differences between industrial compostable, home compostable, and marine compostable certificates.

Industrial Compostable Certifications

Industrial composting refers to the controlled process of breaking down organic waste into compost in a large-scale composting facility. Industrial compostable certifications are given to products that are suitable for this kind of composting and are biodegradable within a specified timeframe. The most widely recognized industrial compostable certifications in Europe are:

EN 13432: This is a European standard for industrial compostability and is the most widely recognized certification for industrial compostable products. To be certified under EN 13432, a product must biodegrade within 12 weeks and leave no harmful residue in the compost.

OK Compost: This certification is given by the European certification body TÜV Austria and follows the EN 13432 standard. The certification process involves testing the biodegradability of the product in industrial composting facilities.

DIN CERTCO: This is a German certification for industrial compostable products and follows the EN 13432 standard. The certification process involves laboratory testing and real-life composting tests.

Biodegradable water bottles are made from 100% plants. This way, your company can:
– reduce CO2 emissions,
– reduce the use of fossil single-use plastic,
– create a circular environment,
– and show the world that they are reducing the impact on the environment.

Home Compostable Certifications

Home composting refers to the process of breaking down organic waste in a small-scale composting bin or heap. Home compostable certifications are given to products that are suitable for this kind of composting and are biodegradable within a specified timeframe. The most widely recognized home compostable certifications in Europe are:

Home Compost: This is a certification by the European certification body TÜV Austria and recognizes products that are biodegradable in a home composting environment. The certification process involves laboratory testing and real-life composting tests.

PEFCR: This is a French certification for home compostable products and recognizes products that are biodegradable in a home composting environment. The certification process involves laboratory testing and real-life composting tests.

Marine Compostable Certifications

Marine composting refers to the process of breaking down organic waste in a marine environment, such as the ocean or sea. Marine compostable certifications are given to products that are suitable for this kind of composting and are biodegradable within a specified timeframe. The most widely recognized marine compostable certifications in Europe are:

Marine Degradable: This certification recognizes products that are biodegradable in a marine environment and follows the ASTM D7081 standard for marine biodegradability. The certification process involves laboratory testing and real-life marine composting tests.

Blue Angel: This is a German certification for environmentally friendly products and recognizes products that are biodegradable in a marine environment. The certification process involves laboratory testing and real-life marine composting tests.

bio-plastic bottles
Compost machine for bio-plastic

Conclusion

Compostability certifications in Europe play a crucial role in ensuring that organic waste is disposed of in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner. The different certifications cater to the different types of composting environments, such as industrial composting, home composting, and marine composting, and recognize products that are biodegradable within a specified timeframe. By choosing products with these certifications, consumers can play

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LCA of PLA bottle solutions for extended shelf‑life (ESL) milk

LCA of PLA bottle solutions for extended shelf‑life (ESL) milk

The dairy market is one of the most important sectors worldwide, and milk packaging contributes to over one-third of the global dairy packaging demand. The end of life of the PLA bottles is a critical stage of their life cycle, as demonstrated by the fact that disposable bottles are one of the litter items that are most found on beach shores. The aim of this paper is to analyse the performance of PLA bottles compared to other alternatives currently in use in the milk packaging sector, using the life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology. PLA bottles can be a powerful means to create a circular economy for disposable items. A PLA-based bottle is compared to a PET bottle, a HDPE bottle, a multilayer carton, and a glass bottle. In the analysis, also secondary and tertiary packaging is included. The functional unit chosen is “the packaging needed to contain 1 L of ESL milk and to guarantee a shelf life of 30 days”. Two sensitivity analyses are also performed in order to assess the infuence of the end-of-life stage on the total impact. The results show that, in accordance with the assumptions of an ideal scenario, bioplastic system has a better performance than fossil-based systems and multilayer carton in the categories of climate change, ozone depletion, human toxicity, freshwater eutrophication, particular matter, and land use. The recycling scenario strongly changes the impact of the glass packaging system in the considered categories.

PLA compostable milk bottle
breaking free from plastic (compostable bottles)

Methodology and data

The present analysis of LCA of PLA bottle solutions for extended shelf‑life (ESL) milk is made following the life cycle assessment methodology. The software SimaPro 9 (PRé Consultants 2019) was used to perform the calculation. As prescribed by the ISO 14040 series (International Organization for Standardization 2006a; 2006b), the following phases are presented:
• Goal and scope defnition
• Life cycle inventory
• Life cycle assessment
• Life cycle interpretation

LCA of PLA bottle - Goal and scope definition

The aim of this analysis is to perform a life cycle assessment of diferent packaging systems used for extended shelf-life (ESL) milk. All the items are modelled through the main materials they are made of. In detail, the following packaging systems are considered.

The PET bottle system. The bottle is made of polyethylene terephthalate (PET), the cap is made of high-density polyethylene (HDPE), and the label is made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC).
• The HDPE bottle system. The bottle is made of high-density polyethylene (HDPE), the cap is made of polypropylene (PP), and the label is made of polyvinyl chloride (PVC).
• The multilayer carton system. Beyond the multilayer aseptic carton, a cap made of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) is included in this system. No label is included.
• The glass bottle system. The bottle is made of glass, the cap is made of steel, and the label is made of Low-density polyethylene (LDPE).
• The bio-plastic bottle system. The bottle is made of PLA, and the label and the cap are mainly made of polylactic acid (PLA) and poly butylene succinate (PBS). The items made of PLA and PBS are compostable. Biodegradability under composting conditions is determined by applying the standard EN 13,432 (CEN 2000). In all the systems, secondary and tertiary packaging is also included.

compostable milk bottles - preform

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PLA sorting for recycling

PLA sorting for recycling. Experiments performed at the National Test Centre Circular Plastics (NTCP)

Bioplastic, if produced sustainably, can contribute to the transition to a circular economy, especially when these plastics are recycled as much as possible. BioPE and BioPET are automatically sorted and recycled together with fossil PE and PET in the current recycling system for plastic packaging. After bioPE and bioPET, PLA (polylactic acid) is the third bioplastic on the market in volume. PLA is a bioplastic that can be used for the production of a variety of packaging, for example meat trays and packaging for vegetables and fruit. In the current recycling system for consumer packaging waste in the Netherlands and other countries, PLA is not sorted out and recycled automatically.
It was concluded in a previous study by CE Delft, (2019) that, in theory, sorting out of PLA packaging waste in plastic sorting installations and mechanical or chemical recycling of the sorted out PLA can be interesting, both from an economic and an environmental perspective. CE Delft estimated that the climate impact of mechanical or chemical recycling of PLA is lower than of conventional processing routes like composting or combustion (CE Delft, 2019). The share of PLA in the mix of packaging has to increase to 1 to 5% to make the sorting of PLA economically feasible for industrial sorting installations (CE Delft, 2019).

Recycling different PLA products

The main research question

However, these conclusions are somewhat uncertain because the effectivity of sorting out PLA with a Near Infrared (NIR)-installation is not yet tested in Dutch sorting installations with Dutch packaging waste. To tackle these uncertainties, a PLA sorting experiment is performed in the National Test Centre for Circular Plastics (NTCP) in Heerenveen.
This installation is built as a model for Dutch sorting installations. The experiment focused on 3D PLA materials, so no PLA foils are investigated.
The main research question for the experiment is: How well can 3D PLA be sorted out of Dutch PMD waste with a higher share of PLA and how does this affect other sorted out plastic streams (especially PET)? Based on stakeholder interviews and literature research we also looked at the possibilities for actual recycling of the sorted PLA.

Main results experiment

Several results are interesting: the PLA yield (share of PLA, which is sorted out correctly), the purity of the PLA stream (share of PLA in the PLA stream) and the pollution of PLA in the PET stream (share of PLA in the PET stream). The results for these parameters are summarised in Table 1.

The PLA yield depends on the type of packaging. The yield is lower for lids and higher for cups and trays. A large share of lids and the trays (10-19%) end up in the lights stream since it is blown out by the wind shifter. Furthermore, a large share of the lids and cups (19-28%) are not sorted out and end up in the residual stream. The colour of the packaging appears to make no difference in this experiment.

PLA can be recycled

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Plant-based bottles (PLA) vs. PET Bottles – Cradle-to-gate LCA and Implications

plant-based bottles product flow

introduction: plant-based bottles vs. PET Bottles

The global production of plastics exceeded 300 million tons in 2013 [1]. A significant share of these plastics turns to solid waste and cause disposal problems since they are mostly non-degradable in the natural environment [1,2]. The disposal problem, jointly with other environmental concerns associated with petroleum-based plastics, has raised the demand for bio-based polymers [3]. Polylactide (PLA), with an annual production of over 180,000 tons [4], is one of the big drivers of the advances of bio-based polymers (BPs) on the market. PLA is biodegradable thermoplastic aliphatic polyester derived from renewable resources, such as corn starch, cassava, or sugarcane [5-9], and can be used to alleviate the waste disposal problem [10]. It is also one of the most versatile materials and – in contrast to most other available BPs – is also suitable for more sophisticated applications like beverage and food packaging [5]. It has been showing that PLA can successfully replace polyethylene terephthalate (PET) in the production of clamshell containers, trays, and bottles [5,11,12]. PLA is often considered to be more environmentally friendly compared to its petroleum-based counterparts due to its biodegradability and renewability of raw materials used for its production. Nevertheless, the production of PLA also requires non-renewable energy sources. Fossil fuel is used to power farm machinery, produce fertilizers and pesticides, transport crops and crop products to processing plants, process raw materials, and ultimately produce the PLA granules. Therefore, to comprehensively evaluate the environmental profile of bio-based products it is paramount to carry out a life-cycle-based study, as being bio-based is not sufficient to be considered environmentally friendly [7]. The link below will guide you to the full rapport of comparing plant-based bottles vs PET bottles. 

Plant-based bottles vs. PET Bottles

The study compares the environmental impacts of 500 ml water bottles produced from corn-based polylactide – Poly lactic acid (plant-based bottles) and PET. The results of cradle-to-bottle factory gate assessment revealed that the usage of PLA granules instead of PET granules would reduce the net global warming potential and cumulative non-renewable energy demand of bottles by 30.9% and 32%, respectively. However, if no credits are given for atmospheric CO2 fixed by corn, and the energy in corn-feedstock is accounted for, the advantages of PLA would be largely diminished.

PLA non renewable MJ
new land use PLA

Extra information - regarding our own PLANT-BASED BOTTLES

PLA bottles: Carbohydrate yield per hectare PLA feedstock

Our plant-based bottles are not made from Corn. The feedstock that we use for our PLA is sugar cane or sugar beet. 

PLA made from sugar cane/beet has a much higher carbohydrate yield per ton/Ha than any other crop used for the production of PLA. So there is less material needed for the same amount of end product.

Besides this benefit all of our PLA is NON-GMO. We make sure our plant-based bottles are as close to mother nature as possible. 

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ASTM standard

ASTM standards - benefits of PLA
bio-plastic bottles

ASTM standard D6400

This specification ASTM standard covers plastics and products made from plastics that are designed to be composted in municipal and industrial aerobic composting facilities. The properties in this specification are those necessary to determine whether plastics and products made from plastics will compost satisfactorily, including biodegradation at a rate comparable to known compostable materials. The purpose of this specification is to establish standards for identifying products and materials that will compost satisfactorily in commercial and municipal composting facilities.

1. Scope of application

1.1 This specification covers plastics and products made from plastics that are designed to be composted under aerobic conditions in municipal and industrial aerobic composting plants, where thermophilic conditions are achieved.

1.2 This specification is intended to establish requirements for labeling materials and products, including plastic packaging, as “compostable in aerobic municipal and industrial composting plants”.

1.3 The properties in this specification are those necessary to determine whether finished products (including packaging), using plastics and polymers as coatings or binders, will compost satisfactorily, in large scale aerobic municipal or industrial composting facilities. Maximum throughput is a high priority for composters and the intermediate stages of plastic disintegration and biodegradation are not visible to the end user for aesthetic reasons.

1.4 The following safety hazard caveat relates to the Test Methods section of this standard: This standard is not intended to address all potential safety concerns associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety, health and environmental practices and determine the applicability of legal restrictions prior to use.

NOTE 1: This test method is equivalent to ISO 17088.

1.5 This International ASTM Standard has been developed in accordance with internationally recognized principles of standardization laid down in the Decision on Principles for the Development of International Standards, Guides and Recommendations of the Committee on Technical Barriers to Trade of the World Trade Organization (TBT).

ASTM Standard D5338

ASTM Standard test method for determining aerobic biodegradation of plastic materials under controlled composting conditions, with thermophilic temperatures

Meaning and usage

Biodegradation of plastic in a composting unit is an important phenomenon because it can affect the degradation of other materials entrapped by the plastic and the resulting quality and appearance of the composted material. Biodegradation of plastics will also allow for the safe disposal of these plastics through large, professionally managed composting facilities and well-managed residential units, where thermophilic temperatures are reached. This procedure has been developed to determine the rate and extent of aerobic biodegradability of plastic products when placed in a controlled composting process.

Limitations— Because there is great variation in the construction and operation of composting plants and because the legal requirements for composting systems vary, this procedure is not intended to simulate the environment of a particular composting system. However, it is expected to resemble the environment of a composting process carried out under optimal conditions where thermophilic temperatures are reached. More particularly, the procedure is intended to create a standard laboratory environment that allows a rapid and reproducible determination of aerobic biodegradability under controlled composting conditions.

Scope of application
1- This ASTM standard test method determines the extent and rate of aerobic biodegradation of plastic materials when exposed to a controlled composting environment under laboratory conditions at thermophilic temperatures. This test method is designed to provide reproducible and repeatable test results under controlled conditions similar to composting conditions, where thermophilic temperatures are reached. The test chemicals are exposed to an inoculum derived from municipal solid waste compost. Aerobic composting takes place in an environment where temperature, aeration and humidity are closely monitored and controlled.
NOTE 1: During composting, thermophilic temperatures are most easily achieved in large-scale, professionally managed facilities. However, these temperatures can also be achieved in smaller residential composting units, often referred to as “backyard” or “home” composting.

2- This test method is designed to produce a percentage of the conversion of carbon in the sample to carbon dioxide. The rate of biodegradation is also monitored.

3- This test method is designed to be applicable to all plastic materials intended to be composted in plants reaching thermophilic temperatures.

4- The values stated in SI units are to be considered as standard.

5- This standard is not intended to address all possible safety concerns associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety, health, and environmental practices and determine the applicability of legal restrictions before use. Specific hazard statements are included in section 8.

6- This standard is not intended to address all possible safety concerns associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate health and safety practices and determine the applicability of regulatory restrictions before use.

7- This test method is equivalent to ISO 14855.

8-This International Standard has been developed by internationally recognized principles of standardization laid down in the Decision on Principles for the Development of International Standards, Guides, and Recommendations of the Committee on Technical Barriers to Trade of the World Trade Organization (TBT).

composting machine, compostable bottles
plant-made Juice bottle compostable
compostable bottle

Let's change the world.Use plant-based plastic

Water and land footprint of bioplastics

Petroleum-based plastics production has increased from 15 million tonnes in 1964 to 311 million tonnes in 2014 and it is estimated double in the next 20 years. Plastics derived from fossil resources are causing different concerns, such as the greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs), resource depletion, and rise of oil prices. These concerns with petroleum-based plastics are generating interest in bioplastics. Many studies have focused on GHGs of bioplastics but studies focusing on water and land footprints of bioplastics are rare.
This study aims to calculate the water and land footprint of bioplastics in several scenarios where all plastics are bio-based and assume different types of biomaterials and recycling rates. Calculation of such scenarios are carried out through a number of steps. The step to calculate the water and land footprint are: (i) listing the inventory of different biomaterial, (ii) estimating the efficiency of biomaterials, (iii) estimating the water and land footprint of sources materials, (iv) calculating the water and land footprint of final products, and (v) calculating the total water and land footprint if all fossil feedstock plastics were replaced by bioplastics. The types of bioplastics studied in this research are polyethylene (PE), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polylactic acid (PLA), polyurethane (PUR), polypropylene (PP), and polyvinyl chloride (PVC). These plastics are selected because they are the main types of plastic materials used globally. Over 70% of the total demand of plastics is satisfied through these five types of plastics. Moreover, polylactic acid (PLA) is also studied because it is the most promising bioplastic and it can replace many functionalities of fossil-based plastics.

In this study, nine sets of assumptions are used. Three sets of assumption relate to the types of
biomaterials used and three sets of assumption relate to different recycling rate. The types of
biomaterials used is selected based on the result of water and land footprint calculation. Biomaterial with the highest water and land footprint value represents the ‘high’ value assumption, the lowest value represents the ‘low’ value assumption, and an average value represents ‘average’ value assumption. However, only PE, PET, and PLA have more than one type of biomaterial. For the recycling rate, there are three scenarios as well which are 10%, 36%, and 62%. The selected rates correspond to the recycling rates for today, the target recycling rate of EU in 2020, and a rate of all plastics that are possible to recycle.

This study shows that the water footprint of bioplastics vary between 1.4 m 3 /kg to 9.5 m 3 /kg. The land footprint of bioplastics vary between 0.7 m 2 /kg to 13.75 m 2 /kg. The water footprint if all the fossilbased plastics replace with bio-based plastics varies from 307 billion to 1,652 billion m 3 per year. If this number compare to global annual average water footprint (9,087 billion m 3 /year), it accounted about 3% to 18% of the global annual average water footprint. The land footprint of a complete shift varies from 30 million to 219 million hectares per year. If it compares to free arable land in 2020 which account about 360 million hectares, the land footprint of this replacement will take about 8% to 61%.

Let's change the world.Use plant-based plastic