Today the Association for Organics Recycling (AFOR1) has launched (22/02/2011) a “Home Compostable” certification scheme geared principally to the UK market. AfOR now operates, with European co-partners, two packaging and product certification schemes covering the EN 13432 standard for ‘Industrially Compostable’ and the Belgian criteria for “Home Compostable”.
With the bio-based packaging and plastics industry continuing to grow and develop both in the UK and internationally, the use of these materials is being explored at nearly all commercial levels.
For some bio-based materials the “Industrially Compostable” route is possible. The “Industrially Compostable” standard EN 13432 has been established in Europe since 2000 and can be claimed for packaging products that meet its requirements. However, this standard’s biodegradation test uses laboratory-scale composting conditions that are equivalent to industrial conditions rather than home composting ones. With millions of UK households home composting and with “Industrially Compostable” packaging and products not yet widely accepted at commercial composting facilities, this provides opportunity for appropriate types of bio-based products to be developed as “Home Compostable”.
Jeremy Jacobs, AfOR’s Managing Director, said “We have responded to calls for the development of a UK based certification scheme for “Home Compostable” packaging and products. Our new partnership with AIB Vinçotte4 in Belgium means that this new scheme uses the same “home compostable” criteria established by our partner 8 years ago and that any product certified under this scheme can also carry AIB Vinçotte’s “OK compost HOME” certification mark.” Addition of the latter mark could be appropriate for products marketed for use in the UK and Belgium, and to any other country where that mark is already widely recognised.
Working with WRAP on development, AfOR’s “Home Compostable” certification mark is in keeping with the already established On-Pack Recycling Label Scheme, a WRAP-initiated scheme with broad buy-in amongst packaging manufacturers and retailers in the UK.
The clear “Home Compostable” message carried by packaging and plastic products of this kind should encourage householders to home compost them instead of putting these items in their organics, dry-recyclable or residual waste bins for collection at the kerbside. Whilst “home compostable” packaging / plastic waste can be commercially composted, it is anticipated that the certification mark will direct this material into home composting bins, thus helping to reduce the resources, costs and carbon related impacts associated with kerbside collection, treatment and disposal of household wastes.
Association for Organics Recycling (AFOR), press release, 2011-02-24.