What is Compost?
A mixture of various decaying organic substances, such as vegetable waste, dead leaves or manure, used for fertilizing soil. Decomposition of organic matter creates compost. It is dark & crumbly, smells like earth
and is food for plants. To start home composting visit https://dailydump.org/
Some International Compost Standards
Here are some international compost standards, this list will grow as we continue to learn.
The Australian AS 5810 is a standard that guarantees composting at low temperatures.
“Biodegradation and disintegration however need to be performed at ambient temperature instead of at elevated temperature (source)”
The AS 5810 standard has it’s own logo
UNI 11183:2006 is an Italian standard that defines:
“The plastic materials used to make products can be disposed by aerobic biodegradation at room temperature . The term “room temperature identifies the range of temperature of temperate regions excluding the high temperatures that are typical for composting. The requirements of ecotoxicity of the plastic materials are also considered in the standard.”
This has no logo.
Besides official government standards, there are 3 logos that guarantee that you can compost a plastic in your home compost pile and these are:
- Vinçotte OK compost HOME label (in Europe)
- AfOR Home Compostable Logo (UK only)
- DIN-Geprüft Home Compostable logo (also Europe)
Note that the Vincotte logo must have the word ‘HOME’ on the left. Without it, the logo only guarantees that it is compostable in an industrial facility.
Some Less Strict ‘Compostable’ Standards
There are several standards that are often mentioned on compostable plastics that guarantee that the plastic can be composted safely (with low levels of heavy metals and toxic substances in the resulting compost). These can theoretically be used in home composting but only when doing hot-composting for a longer period of time, so this won’t work on the average home compost heap. Less strict standard first:
The US ASTM D6400
“Degradation by biological processes during composting to yield CO2, water, inorganic compounds and biomass at a rate consistent with other compostable materials and leaves no visible, distinguishable or toxic residue…. 60% biodegradation within 180 days”
The European EN 13432 / Seedling logo:
“A biodegradation level of at least 90% must be reached in less than 6 months… fragmentation and loss of visibility in the final compost (absence of visible pollution)… absence of negative effects on the composting process… Low levels of heavy metals (below given max values) and absence of negative effects on the final compost.”
The Australian AS 4736:
“Minimum of 90% of plastic materials should disintegrate into less than 2mm pieces in compost within 12 weeks. No toxic effect of the resulting compost on plants and earthworms. Hazardous substances such as heavy metals should not be present above the maximum allowed levels”
These 3 standards do not guarantee under which circumstances (temperature) the plastic will compost and these are most likely in industrial conditions.