What do those green / eco expressions truly mean ?
Often incorrectly used or confused, each of those terms represents a very special feature for a product. Reminder: the biodegradation of a product is the property to degrade completely and to be assimilated by natural active micro-organisms (bacteria, fungi, algae) without toxic substances.
Compostable also means to be biodegradable, however, the opposite is not always true !
Most of the man-made products require centuries to degrade and eventually leads to the secretion of poisonous substances in the environment, with irreparable damages. The biodegradation of a product varies according to its percentage of degradable particles and its speed. Therefore, it is necessary to be very critical when the product is presented as “biodegradable”. Some products biodegrade very well but many do not.
Amongst biodegradable products there is a further differentiating factor for those showing a higher quality namely “the compostability”. This category is designated as “compostable”. The special compostable packaging is regulated under the EU standard EN 13432, which states that 90% of its mass ought to degrade within a period of 6 months.
Four tests are required to meet this standard (ecological compatibility test, biodegradation test, physical resolution test, absence of heavy metals).
The sub-category of compostability is divided into 2 areas:
° compostable in the private garden compost
“I am compostable in your private garden compost”
I am up to 100% made of plant or animal origin raw materials. I degrade as a result of compostability: The collection of compostable elements in the private garden compost has the aim of upgrading the waste.
There is no maximum time limit for the degradation in the private garden compost.
° compostable in public/industrial composting facilities
“I am compostable in an industrial composting facility”
”: I meet the EN 13432 standard that states that 90% of my mass must degrade within a period of 12 weeks in an industrial composting facility.
With their OK COMPOST label BioApply products are guaranteed to degrade in 12 weeks in a public facility and in 15 days in a biomethane centre.
° fabriqué à partir de matière végétale, animale ou marine
“I am biobased”
means that I am made of plant, animal or marine origin raw materials. In BioApply all of them are guaranteed biodegradable.
Attention: it is important to pay attention to the percentage of the plant raw material component of a product. Too low content is not ecological at all. BioApply certified the quality of the plant raw material by its label “BioApply biodegradable solutions”. They are enhanced through its energy generation (electricity and heat) in combustion.
“I am recyclable” is defined as a product which raw materials can be recycled in a “biomethane – production” cycle: an industrial process that consists of a series of decomposition stages for organic matter leading to its transformation into biogas with methane as the main component while the biogas is converted into heat or electricity.