EN 13432: The Compostable European Green Products Code for Eco-Friendliness
In the US, it helps to look for the ASTM D6400 on your products as a tail-wag of approval. But if you really want to be sure you’re choosing green products with a mission to reduce your carbon footprint and greenhouse emission, then keep an eye out for EN 13432.
Like, What is EN 13432?
These codes, while confusing and clinical in denotation, are for certifications of compostability. It would be nice if they’d call them something warm and fuzzy perhaps with a Mochi Rating #1. We’ll work on it.
Anyway, this European standard for biodegradable and compostable practices requires plastics to disintegrate after 12 weeks and be able to biodegrade completely after 6 months’ time. So in short, at least 90% of the material will turn into carbon dioxide while the rest converts to water and biomass which equals compost.
Boring name, excellent standards, don’t you agree? Woof!
Why Bioplastics are Important
As the world turns with each passing day, we all need to do our part for sustainable practices. That’s the driving force behind certifications like EN 13432 as well as ASTM D6400. These set the standards that companies need to conform to for a better planet.
With every day, more people populate this place. Our kids, their kids, their kids’ kids, and so on will all set foot on the soil. They’ll have dogs and nowhere to run and play with them if we don’t all step it up.
Products that are certified with the EN 13432 standard can be a part of industrial composting systems. That’s why these green products need to meet a few characteristics.
For one, they must be biodegradable. That means it has to metabolically convert to that precious carbon dioxide. It also needs to disintegrate so it doesn’t resemble what it once did. Take the case of plastic bags…they must not appear like plastic bags as they decompose.
Additionally, EN 13432 green products must have an absence of negative impact on the final compost left behind. That means it shouldn’t taint the earth and leave toxins behind that can effect plant growth or contaminate the soil.
What This Certification Means for You
Many things can be compostable but yet not achieve the status of certification that EN 13432 brings. That’s why every consumer out there needs to be aware of what this indication on green products entails. Knowing it and seeking out products with certifications that denote biodegradable and compostable merits means that you’re making the best choice for you. For your family. For your dog. For your environment. For everyone.
What this EN 13432 certification indicates is that the green products you’re choosing are up to par with the standards and are actively following the compliance set forth to receive it. That’s different than simply meeting industry standards.
You can claim to have a biodegradable and compostable product but the certifications need to back it up. That’s like saying you’re a veterinarian because you took a few classes at college but never got your degree. (Please don’t take us to the vet! *whimper*)
Certifications are always bestowed by an independent third party. And really, isn’t that what you want when you buy anything? Every product will tell you the best of what they’ve got. That’s marketing. But when it’s certified by an unaffiliated third party, you can be sure that green products are as green as they claim to be.
When it comes to bioplastics in particular, certifications check for compliance to make sure that the independent testing reveals what is required. It is then certified with a logo that you’ll be able to see at a quick glance on a product. Because no one ever wants to stand in an aisle at the supermarket reading labels. That goes for green products as well as allergens.
Additionally, when these EN 13432 certifications are approved, it serves as a way to track the product with surveillance, ensuring that it can be sampled, analyzed, and inspected to uphold the most stringent quality standards.
Now that you know more about biodegradable and compostable plastics and their certifications both in Europe as well as the USA, you should take your furry friend for a walk, and don’t forget your eco-friendly plastics to pick up whatever they leave behind!