Critical Review of Norms and Standards for Biodegradable Agricultural Plastics Part II: Composting

Research paper by Demetres Briassoulis, Cyril Dejean, Pietro Picuno

Indexed on: 29 Jun '10Published on: 29 Jun '10Published in: Journal of Polymers and the Environment


The critical review of norms and standards and corresponding tests to determine the compostability of biodegradable plastics, possibly applicable also to biodegradable agricultural plastics, shows that many norms concerning testing and labelling of compostable plastics have been established at the international level. Some of them are about plastic materials, some others are about products like packaging. The media and conditions of testing cover mainly the conditions designed for industrial composting facilities, and only a few concern home composting conditions. Considering that the end of life management of biodegradable agricultural plastic products will be done at the farm to reduce the management of the waste and also its cost, only a few of these norms are considered to be suitable for adaptation to cover also biodegradable agricultural plastic products. The biodegradability validation criteria under composting conditions, such as the threshold percentage of biodegradation and disintegration, the time and temperature, and the ecotoxicity, are presented for the main norms and standard testing methods. Based on these different norms and their content, a list of specs and technical requirements that could be adapted to meet farm composting conditions for agricultural compostable plastics is proposed. These requirements may be used as criteria for the establishment of a new integrative norm for agricultural compostable plastics.