Sulapac materials are industrially compostable meaning they have been tested for disintegration, biodegradability, effect on the biological treatment process and effect on the quality of the resulting compost (biomass) and ecotoxicity during a composting process at 40-60oC (104-140oF).
Industrial composting is an aerobic (oxygen present) process which takes place in controlled conditions. The composting process is governed by a number of factors including temperature (typically 40–60°C/104-140oF), moisture, amount of oxygen, particle size, the carbon-to-nitrogen ratio and the degree of turning involved. Generally, effective management of these factors will accelerate the composting process. The outcomes of industrial composting process are CO2, water and compost. The compost includes nutrients, and can be used, for example, in agriculture to enhance the quality of soil.
It should be highlighted that the conditions in an industrial compost differ from those in a home compost, and thus materials which are industrially compostable are not necessarily home compostable. F.ex. the temperature in a home compost is typically much lower than 40–60°C (104-140oF).
The requirements for industrial composting are specified in standards (e.g. ASTM 6400, ASTM 7878, EN 13432, EN14995). They include the test scheme and pass/fail criteria for a material to be claimed to be industrially compostable. A material may be deemed to be compostable only if all the constituents and components of the material are compostable.
The Seedling (EU), OK compost INDUSTRIAL (EU) and BPI (US) certificates are examples of international certificates that can be used as an independent proof of the industrial compostability of a product [1, 2]. After independent review of test results, applicant enters into licensing agreement granting them right to use the Compostable Logo of Seedling or BPI trademark. The technical content of these three certificates is almost identical. The certificates are application specific and have to be periodically renewed and inspected. F.ex. in the case of packaging, the contents of the packaging has to fulfill the compostability criteria too, unless it’s possible to remove the contents without leaving any traces behind.
In the EU legislation (Directive 94/62/EC) industrial composting is considered a specific form of material recycling.
Sulapac materials are industrially compostable.
A product is suitable for industrial composting if it has been successfully tested for the following properties
Biodegradation during biological treatment
Disintegration during biological treatment
Effect on the biological treatment process/ Chemical characterization
Effect on the Quality of the resulting compost (biomass) and ecotoxicity
Sulapac Universal, Premium and Flow materials have been tested by an independent testing laboratory, like OWS , following the test regime explained above. Based on these testing results, the compliance for the materials to EN13432 can be either self-declared or certified by a third party notified body.
To complete the pilot-scale composting simulations, we have ourselves carried out testing in an industrial scale biowaste management plant Kekkilä in Finland. The pilot-scale composting simulations and industrial-scale testing has confirmed that the Sulapac® materials are suitable for industrial composting process. Local differences between industrial biowaste management facilities exist, which is why the acceptance of compostable materials has to be checked locally.