Industrial composting is considered a specific form of material recycling according to EU legislation (Directive 94/62/EC).
Industrial composting is an aerobic (oxygen present) process which takes place in controlled conditions. The composting period is governed by a number of factors including temperature (typically 50–60°C), 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.
The requirements for industrial composting are speciefied in the European standard EN 13432. It includes the test scheme and evaluation criteria for the compostability and anaerobic treatability of packaging and packaging materials in controlled waste treatment plants. The technical content of EN13432 is identical with EN14995, which is applicable to other than packaging applications.
The Seedling certificate is an example of an international certificate that complies with the standard and can be used as an independent proof of the industrial compostability of a product. However, Seedling or similar certificate is not obliged by any legislative authority in Europe.
The Sulapac Straw is industrially compostable in accordance with the European Standard EN 13432.
According to the European Standard EN 13432 a product suitable for industrial composting must fulfill the following criteria:
Sulapac products have been tested by independent, accredited testing laboratory OWS following the test regime applied in the Seedling certification process, in accordance with the EN 13432.
According to the EN 13432 a controlled pilot-scale test shall be used as the reference test method. A test in a full-scale treatment facility, may, however, be accepted as equivalent. The OWS tests for Sulapac products have been carried out in a pilot-scale setting. Sulapac’s test results are as follows:
In addition to the pilot-scale compostability simulations by OWS, tests in full-scale treatment facility have been carried out by Kekkilä. The industrial-scale testing confirmed that the Sulapac® straw complies with the EN 13432 and is suitable for industrial composting.