Home compostable products and materials are designed to fully biodegrade in a home compost environment, at ambient temperatures and with a natural microbial community, within 12 months. This is what sets these products apart from their commercially compostable counterparts. The generally accepted difference between home and commercial composting is the temperature at which they operate. A home compost is estimated to have an average 30C where commercial systems generally run 60C and above. There are currently two certifications for Home Compostability: 1. The Australasian Standard administered by the Australasian Bioplastics Association with their AS5810 certification. 2. The European standard administered by TUV - Austria with their OK Home Compost certification Currently, ASTM does not provide a test standard for home compost, and BPI has not evolved to include home compostables in their certification schemes. All compostability tests require that the product pass two central tests: - Biodegradation - this tests that the product / material fully biodegrades under prescribed conditions and in a certain timeframe. - Chemical Characterisation - this tests that the product leaves no harmful or chemical residues as part of the process. In addition to the above, the Australasian Standard has one further test: - Eco-toxicity - this test is to ensure that the compost created supports a healthy soil and the primary test here is in relation to the worm population of the soil.
Frequently asked questions
Compostable materials are designed to be composted and unfortunately that means they cannot be mechanically recycled. Although commercial composting systems are not currently widely available on a kerbside basis this is changing rapidly and so too is the rate of home composting. For further reading please see our blog post on Composting vs Recycling.