27. May 2020
TÜV Austria, an independent certification company has authorised the laboratories of the Packaging, Transport and Logistics Research Center (ITENE), located in Valencia (Spain), to carry out home compostability tests. This is in addition to the certification of industrial compostability testing obtained by this research centre from the same entity.
The OK Compost HOME certification received by ITENE guarantees the biodegradability in the home composting process. The guarantee that a product is compostable in domestic conditions represents an added value in terms of sustainability and differentiation from competitors. For the certification of home compostability there is currently no unified harmonized individual standard. However, the standard EN 13432 is used by TÜV AUSTRIA, in addition to other relevant standards, with slight deviations in the test requirements.
Besides this, packaging or products with the OK Compost INDUSTRIAL label guarantee that they are biodegradable in an industrial composting plant. This applies to all its components, inks and additives. The reference point for the certification program is the harmonized standard EN-13432:2000. This means that any product bearing the OK Compost INDUSTRIAL logo meets the requirements of the European Directive on packaging and packaging waste (94/62/EEC).
In this sense, ITENE is currently the only centre in Spain accredited by the Spanish National Accreditation Body (ENAC), to carry out compostability tests in its four phases based on the UNE-EN 13432:2001 “Requirements for packaging recoverable through composting and biodegradation. Test scheme and evaluation criteria for the final acceptance of packaging”.
Specifically, ITENE is qualified to carry out each of the stages of the composting tests: characterization of materials, biodegradation, disintegration, and ecotoxicity. These tests can be applied to different types of materials, such as cellulose or plastics, and also to different types of additives and products, such as bags, containers or single-use utensils.
ITENE was in 2015 the first Spanish laboratory certified to carry out industrial compostability tests by TÜV AUSTRIA (formerly Vinçotte). It is also, and since that year, the only one recognized in Spain by DIN CERTCO. These two certification bodies are also authorised to award the Seedling logo, owned by European Bioplastics, to products that comply with the EN-13432:2000 standard.
In addition, in 2019 a mutual recognition agreement was signed between DIN CERTCO and the American Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI), which has its own mark to certify industrial compostability. In the case of BPI, ITENE is one of the seven certified laboratories in Europe and the only one in Spain.
Through ITENE's test reports, therefore, companies can obtain these four certification logos.