Biodegradable is anything that degrades naturally, and through the action of microorganisms such as algae, fungi, or bacteria. However, the complete process of biodegradation can take place over a period of days or of thousands of years and leave behind a trail of contaminating chemicals and high levels of toxicity. Plastic, for example, is a non-biodegradable material that, after being discarded, remains in the environment for centuries without completely decomposing.
Compostable products are also biodegradable, but their entire degradation process, which can only vary between one and six months, is fast and highly beneficial to the environment. During the period of decomposition of these products made from plants - with ideal conditions of temperature, humidity, oxygen, and biological agents being met - an organic material very rich in nutrients for the soil is generated, a compost, which can be used for gardening and vegetable gardens. Composting thus provides a useful destination for organic waste, preventing its accumulation in landfills.
Claims for products regarding their compostability or their derivation from renewable resources are often difficult for the consumer to verify. The certification labels are awarded by independent third parties, such as the compostability label EN 13432.
The certification guarantees that the product can be industrially composted and that its components are compostable, such as its colors, glues, etc.
The certification according to EN 13432 covers:
All these 4 tests must be approved for the same material and must be conducted by certified laboratories.
The certification guarantees the safety and veracity of the product, making it more transparent for the final consumer.