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Saturday, January 28, 2012

BPI Certified Compostable Program Evolves

In early January,  Biodegradable Products Institute announced NSF International will administer the BPI compostable packaging certification process. Since the first product certification in 2002, more than 230 products from over 130 global companies earned the BPI  Certified Compostable distinction.

With the foodservice industry embracing source-separated organics for composting collection, the number and type of compostable products seeking certification is certain to escalate in upcoming years.  BPI's partnership with well-respected NSF International builds a foundation capable of handling the increased certification applicants with ease and adherence to the strict standards set during program formation.

As documented in the ZWZ Blog, Atlanta Airport Makes Bold Sustainable Statement, the recently awarded concessionaire contracts at the busiest airport in the world require food vendors use compostable serviceware and consumer-facing packaging in their operations.  The Atlanta Airport is a Sustainable Food Court Initiative Pilot and the SFCI Team is supporting concessionaires meet the coompostable product contract provision.  As a general rule, BPI certification is required for a product to meet the compostable packaging definition.

The BPI developed the Certified Compostable program for plastics to apply science-based test methods developed by the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) to verify a material will compost in a municipal or commercial facility, leaving no toxic or lingering plastic. Product testing mimics what takes place in a typical municipal or commercial composting system. To pass these ASTM tests, a product must:
  • Disintegrate quickly leaving no visible residue that has to be screened out
  • Biodegrade fully or convert rapidly to carbon dioxide, water and biomass
  • Result in compost that can support plant growth
  • Not introduce high levels of regulated metals into the soil
Certified compostable items range from compostable bags and foodservice items to packaging materials, widely distributed consumer products and even wax and shellac coatings. The BPI Compostable Logo identifies products that have been independently tested and verified to biodegrade and compost quickly, safely and completely in municipal and commercial composting operations.  Note the BPI certified compostable program pertains to commercial operations, NOT home or smaller scale composting practices.
Steve Mojo
The BPI Compostable Logo is widely recognized by consumers, composters and municipal officials throughout North America as the preferred trademark to assure compostability in commercial facilities,” said Steven A. Mojo, BPI executive director. “As more consumer goods companies recognize the importance and value of composting, and the importance of responsible marketing claims about biodegradability and compostability, we anticipate even more growth in the years ahead. This new partnership with NSF will create a strong foundation to support this anticipated growth.
NSF International is an independent organization that writes standards and certifies products for food, water and consumer goods to minimize adverse health effects and protect the environment. Founded in 1944, NSF is committed to protecting public health and safety worldwide. NSF is a World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Food and Water Safety and Indoor Environment.
According to  Tom Bruursema, NSF International Sustainability General Manager. “NSF Sustainability’s participation will help to expand the Certified Compostable program and provide consumers, institutional, commercial and government purchasers even more access to compostable plastic products.”
Yahoo News ran an excellent article NSF Selected to Administer BPI Compostable Program via PR Web, which was used for factual content in this post.  The BPI News Library post, NSF International to Administer BPI Certification Program, gives the BPI perspective of the new partnership.
Kudos to Steve Mojo for evolving a successful program into its next generation with ease and grace. Foresight is a valuable trait and our industry is fortunate Steve Mojo serves as one of its leaders.

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