Much has been made of Flourinated Chemicals recently and their presence in some take out packaging. It is common for these chemicals to be referred to by the acronym PFAS, which stands for polyflourinated alkyl substance, but BPI will refer to them as Flourniated Chemicals or FCs. The City of San Francisco recently passed an ordinance stating, among other things, that,
“After January 1, 2020 all compostable foodware that is distributed, sold, or provided in San Francisco must have no intentionally added fluorinated chemicals. To verify, foodware must be BPI certified.”
BPI has been actively engaged on the topic of fluorinated chemicals, and last fall the BPI board brought a vote to the membership about restricting and eventually eliminating fluorinated chemicals from the certification. Specifically, the proposal was to adopt the EN 13432 limit of 100 ppm total fluorine in 2019, and a statement of “no intentionally added fluorinated chemicals” shortly thereafter. The vote passed, and BPI and has communicated a list of key milestones and dates for its member companies that can be found here.
BPI’s overarching goal is to assist in the diversion of organic waste to composting, by verifying that products and packaging will completely break down in a professionally managed composting facility, without harming the quality of that compost. While data is still emerging, there was enough of an indication from scientists as well as composters that something needed to be done about the issue of fluorinated chemicals in products and packaging, specifically the products and packaging that BPI certifies as compostable. Cities like San Francisco, as well as many other stakeholders, rely on BPI certification to provide third-party verification of compostability. A separate part of the SF ordinance makes clear that,
“Foodware that is accepted in San Francisco’s composting program must be BPI (Biodegradable Products Institute) certified to be considered truly compostable.” Full text here.
In a consumer climate where it can be difficult to tell the difference between real benefits and false claims, BPI will continue to work with its member companies and many others in the effort to make claims of compostability for products and packaging as clear and trustworthy as possible.