WESSLING, as a company, that operates according to the principles of sustainable development, offers laboratory compostability tests to determine if a product is compostable.
In response to the current environmental challenges, legal regulations are changing and consumers are adapting their consumption patterns, moving towards environmentally friendly solutions aimed at reducing waste. The producers' response to the changes is the development of compostable products that enable recycling of waste.
Providing products or packaging that can be placed in their own composters by consumers or industrially composted, brings real added value to the products as it meets current and future social and environmental requirements by helping to reduce waste.
Compostability tests are carried out in France at WESSLING GreenLab. The laboratory covers 70 m² and is one of the first to perform these tests in France.
The analytical activity and documentation are entirely digital. To this end, the WESSLING GreenLab is equipped with a screen for monitoring the tests. In addition, WESSLING has set up a digital information transmission system, especially for automatic monitoring of test conditions in the tanks containing the samples.
The laboratory consists of a 30 m² area devoted to testing work and a 40 m² analysis room where the samples are placed. The latter is kept in darkness in order to comply with the composting conditions defined by the standards according to which the compostability tests are carried out.
A feature of the laboratory is that it has special sealed walls that make it possible to maintain an internal temperature of 25°C and meet the conditions imposed by the standards for home compostability and biodegradability tests in different environments.
To simulate industrial composting conditions, the WESSLING GreenLab carries out biodegradation tests in an oven set at 58°C.
The laboratory also has a growth chamber for ecotoxicological tests on plants, which controls all the parameters needed for their proper development. These tests are necessary to ensure that compost containing degraded material does not affect plant development.
In Europe, there are different standards that define the conditions that products defined as compostable should meet. The European standard EN 13432 defines the conditions for products that biodegrade under industrial composting conditions. Composting conditions in an industrial environment allow for the acceleration of the decomposition process due to the high temperature (approximately 58°C).
On the other hand, stricter requirements are imposed on products to be degraded in home composters. The lower decomposition temperature of the composted product (approximately 25°C) makes the process more difficult and takes longer. The conditions to be met by products suitable for home composting are specified, among others, by the French standard NF T51-800 based on the EN 13432 standard.
To identify compostable products and to distinguish them from other products, which are often described as biodegradable, but do not meet the definition of compostability - namely they do not decompose into carbon dioxide and water and "clean" compost, but decompose only under the influence of oxygen and e.g. sunlight on small pieces of polymers from which they are made - certification systems have been created for these products. Products that meet the EN 13432 standard that are suitable for composting in industrial conditions may be marked with the compostability symbol issued by certification bodies.
WESSLING offers tests of packaging products and other products made of plastics, paper or bio-based materials to determine if they are suitable for composting in domestic or industrial conditions.
The duration of the tests varies from 6 to a maximum of 11 months for the home compostability test and from 10 to a maximum of 20 months for the industrial compostability test.
The compostability test takes place in the following 4 steps:
Biodegradation and disintegration can be carried out parallel, therefore their durations do not add up.
Products that pass all stages of the compostability test can be certified by independent units, and after obtaining the certificate, they are marked with appropriate symbols confirming their compliance with the relevant standard. This is a confirmation for both, the producer and the consumer, that the certified product can be composted in any composter and will degrade within weeks or months - depending on its properties - contributing to the reduction of waste generated.
At WESSLING, we perform four-stage compostability tests, including product identification and chemical characterization, biodegradation, decomposition and ecotoxicity testing. A positive test result is the basis for submitting the product to the certification body in order to obtain a product certificate.
We encourage you to contact us and get acquainted with the details of our offer.