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Compostability according to DIN/EN 13432 and NF T51-800:2015

We often talk about our packaging being biodegradable according to DIN 13432 or EN 13432. Some of our products are even garden and home compostable according to NF T51-800:2015. So that you don't have to read a boring description of the standards, we'll explain what you need to know in a nutshell.

What is DIN/EN 13432?

DIN 13432 and EN 13432 are standardised test procedures in Germany (DIN) and Europe (EN). It tests the compostability of packaging. The standard has been valid for all EU member states since 31.03.2001 - in Germany, the regulation came into effect in December 2000. Responsible for the certification process in Germany is DIN CERTO (the certification organisation of the German Institute for Standardisation). In order to receive the certificate, a piece of packaging must undergo five tests. All parts of the packaging must pass the tests. You can find out more about the procedure in the next section.

The 5 steps to certified compostability

  1. In the first step of the procedure, the exact ingredients of the packaging are determined, and it is established whether the limit values for heavy metals have been complied with.
  2. After passing the first test, in step 2 it is checked whether the packaging is biodegradable. For this purpose, it must be proven that 90 % of the organic material has been converted into CO2 after 6 months in an aqueous medium/environment.
  3. In step 3, compostability is tested. Only if less than 10% of the original mass remains of a package after 3 months of composting - and subsequent fine screening - is it considered compostable.
  4. A practical test is then carried out in step 4 to determine whether the composting of the packaging does not have a negative impact on the entire composting process.
  5. The test procedure is concluded with step 5, which consists of two tests - the agronomic test and the ecotoxicity test. The what? The former is to determine what effect the compost created from the packaging has on plant growth (agronomy = optimising agriculture) and the latter is to determine whether it may contain any toxins (toxicity = toxicity of a substance).

Only if a package has successfully passed all five steps can it be awarded the certificate.

What is NF T51-800:2015?

A lot of packaging ends up in household waste before it is recycled or otherwise processed. Some of our products, on the other hand, can be sent directly to the biological cycle. This is especially true for many of our paper cups. That is why all our paper cups with dispersion coating (water-based barrier) are now certified according to standard NF T51-800:2015. What does this mean? The international standard NF T51-800:2015 is the basis of the certified seal "DIN Tested - garden compostable". This standard guarantees that the corresponding cups are biodegradable in domestic compost without leaving behind any substances of concern. This means that our cups with dispersion coating are completely compostable in the home garden. Due to the material and the biodegradable coating, this is no problem. Important: Although the cups are compostable at home and in the garden, they must not be thrown loose into nature. The product will only decompose naturally within the ecological conditions of a compost.

The principle of voluntary self-commitment

The entire testing procedure is carried out on the basis of a voluntary commitment on the part of the manufacturers and is not prescribed by law in Germany or Europe. This is precisely why many European countries still have very different rules for the use, but also especially for the disposal or recycling of biodegradable plastic products. Information on the respective regulations can usually be found at the national certification companies.

You can find out more about the biodegradability or disposal of packaging in our other guide articles.