Certification Mark Use Exemptions


The requirement to use the BPI Certification Mark on all products and packaging is in place to help manage the threat of contamination that is frequently cited by composters as their biggest challenge when accepting compostable products and packaging. Complete and accurate on-product and on-package labeling are the most important tools we have in the effort to keep consumers, end-users, composters and others informed on the compostability of products and packaging.

Despite the extreme importance of on-product labeling, there are some categories that BPI, in consultation with its Composter & Municipality Committee, has chosen to exempt from its requirements. There are typically a combination of factors in play when exemptions are granted. The two most common factors are:

1. Space / Technical Constraints - Lack of space on an item and/or the inability to label due to technical limitations can sometimes constitute an exemption.
2. Contamination Risk - If an item is a low contamination risk because it is unlikely to be confused with a non-compostable item, it may receive an exemption.

    Current Category Exemptions

    The following categories currently have exemptions in place for the on-product requirement to display the BPI Certification Mark. Please note that these exemptions are constantly being reevaluated as products and new technology develop, so currently exempt categories might require on-product labeling in the future:

    • Resins (including packaging)
    • Components (including packaging)
    • Product Categories (packaging requirements still apply):
          • Baking Paper
          • Cleaning Wipes (Food Use Only)
          • Coffee Filters
          • Egg Shell Flats / Drink Containers
          • Foam Packaging (Packing Peanuts, Packing Foam)
          • Food and Beverage Filters
          • Grilling Paper (Retail Only)
          • Growing Medium
          • Molded Fiber Dome Lids
          • Molded Fiber Portion Cups (4 oz and less with less than 10 mm embossable area)
          • Mulch Films
          • Napkins
          • Netting for hay, straw, and forage bales
          • Palm Leaf Foodservice Ware
          • Paper Conical Cups
          • Paper Souffle Cups
          • Paper Towels (Food-Related Use)
          • Small, Rigid Coffee Capsules (“Nespresso style”)
          • Soft Coffee Pods
          • Straws and Stirrers
          • Tea Bags & Tea Bag Tags
          • Uncoated Paper Plates
          • Wooden Cutlery, Stir Sticks, and Toothpicks

    There are a small number of categories that currently have partial exemptions in place for one of the five required artwork elements (all other artwork elements are still required):

    • At least one "Compostable" claim separate from the FTC disclaimer statement (packaging requirements still apply):
          • Molded Fiber Portion Cups (4 oz and less)
          • Portion Cups (4 oz and less)

    Future Category Exemptions

    BPI will consider requests to add categories to the list above. If you have a product that you think is a good fit for the list of categorical exemptions to BPI’s on-product or on-packaging labeling requirements, please use this form.