The Recertification process can start up to one year before the expiration date.
A Recertification Application requires the following documents: (Make sure a Recertification is right for your needs)
Complete and signed paperwork can be submitted to your company’s BPI Project Manager or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Recertification is $1,000. (Certifications are valid for 3 years then must go through Recertification.)
The BPI Membership and Licensing fee is due every year, with the cost dependent upon the selected membership level. BPI offers different membership categories with varying benefits and annual costs to best fit the needs of member companies. Please visit BPI Membership for details on membership options and costs.
All invoices are due on receipt. Applications do not proceed until after payment is received. BPI's financial policies can be found here.
A $1,000 USD application fee will be invoiced after all initial paperwork has been received for the Recertification.
Separately, an annual Membership and Licensing renewal fee will be invoiced to BPI members on their licensing/membership anniversary date.
The entire process can take up to six months or more depending on the test scheme required and both the readiness and attentiveness of the applicant. Testing is often the longest part of the process. Tests like Metals, Ash, and FTIR can take less than one month, but timelines depend on available lab capacity, which is outside of BPI’s ability to control. Disintegration testing takes a minimum of 3 months, and biodegradation testing takes a minimum of 6 months. When all tests are submitted and samples are sent, the technical review process generally takes 4 weeks to complete.
The BPI License Agreement requires all BPI-certified products (e.g. bags, cups, cutlery wrappers, forks, pouches) and packaging (both consumer- and market-facing) for BPI-certified products to display the BPI Certification Mark unless an exemption has been granted in writing.
The on-product portion of this requirement is particularly important to differentiate compostable products from their non-compostable counterparts and is the visual cue that consumers and end-users will use when determining whether or not to put an item into an organics/compost bin. Composters will use this same information to determine whether or not an item that they receive at their facility represents a contaminant to their operation. Without consistent labeling and identification efforts at the on-product level, it is nearly impossible for compostable products and packaging to be diverted from landfills and receive their appropriate end-of-life.
The BPI Certification Mark Usage Requirements manual provides overviews of current regulatory requirements for compostability messaging in the United States and Canada and shows examples of the BPI Certification Marks in use. BPI has different versions of the BPI Certification Mark available, but all certified products and their packaging must contain the following 5 elements
Before products are added to BPI’s database and listed in the online product catalog or official certificates are issued, representative samples (BPI does not need to see every size in a category if all the artwork is the same) of product and packaging artwork must be submitted to BPI for confirmation that the artwork meets the requirements for use as outlined in the BPI License Agreement. Product and packaging artwork must be confirmed before the certification process is complete. Applicants may submit artwork for review once the application fee has been paid and a testing scheme has been received by the applicant. Once the BPI License Agreement has been signed, BPI can provide watermarked versions of the BPI Certification Mark for preliminary design and review purposes. Once BPI has received all final paperwork and payments, the applicant will receive official BPI Certification Marks, including the Lock Up Version of the BPI Certification Mark that is unique to the applicant company.
BPI also has general industry Guidelines for the Labeling and Identification of Compostable Products and Packaging that provides expanded recommendations and graphical examples for how to label compostable products beyond what is shown in the BPI Certification Mark Usage Requirements.
For more information on labeling, please visit the Labeling FAQ.
For questions about BPI’s artwork requirements and review process, please contact our Marketing Team.
All recertifications require, at a minimum, Heavy Metals / Fluorine / Cobalt, Ash (VOC), FTIR, and thickness and grammage (if applicable) measurements. These must have been conducted within the past 12 months. If there have been any formulation changes since initial certification (or previous recertification), other tests might be required on the end product or certain ingredients. For more information regarding what tests might be required for formulation changes, refer to Certification Testing.
This is a separate process from the testing an applicant is required to have conducted at an external, BPI-Approved Lab. Applicants are required to submit representative physical samples of the items being certified. The applicant will receive specific instructions on sending these samples to BPI’s technical reviewer for documentation. These verification samples are photographed, measured for thickness and grammage (when applicable), and undergo FTIR analysis. This information is used to validate the composition of the product and the test results provided by the BPI-Approved Lab that the applicant chose to conduct the required testing.
Once all required tests from the test scheme have been completed, the applicant directs the BPI-Approved Lab that conducted the testing to send the results directly to BPI and BPI’s Technical Reviewer.
The technical review begins when BPI’s technical reviewer has received ALL the required test reports, including the verification report from the verification samples provided. The entire process generally takes an average of 4 weeks but can take longer if application volumes are high. The technical reviewer performs a detailed check on formulations, safety data sheets, and test reports to ensure that they meet ASTM standards and BPI’s certification requirements. This includes quality control checks on how the tests were performed and that they were performed on the formulation(s) listed in the application.
Upon successful completion of the Technical Review, the BPI License Agreement and Membership are finalized.
This document details the rights that BPI grants to its Members for use of the BPI Certification Marks. It also provides details on all aspects of the Certification program: including requirements for recertification, information on certificates, control and inspection, and termination. This document must be signed by an officer of the member company.
If the applicant is a new BPI Member, the BPI Membership fee is due at this time. Certificate files will not be sent to the applicant until payment of all outstanding invoices has been received by BPI.
Membership is automatically invoiced at the Certification Member level. Applicants can choose to upgrade to the Full Member level. See membership page for full details.
When the certification process is complete, a BPI Project Manager will send the following items to the BPI Member for the certified or recertified items:
This document confirms the final formulation and specifications that are BPI certified.
A copy of the License Agreement that has been countersigned by BPI’s Executive Director. This is a good document to keep on file, as it references the terms of the agreement in place between BPI and the member company.
Links to download BPI Certification Mark artwork files.
This document is the best way to provide customers and other interested parties with evidence of BPI Certification.
Please note that the PDF certificate is the official BPI Certificate; no paper copies will be provided to BPI Members, but the PDF can be printed by the applicant, if a physical copy is desired.
BPI-certified products are listed in a searchable catalog on BPI’s website. This catalog allows the public to search for and verify BPI-certified products.
Product listings are populated with the information from the product worksheet and also appear on the BPI Certificate.
Members planning to private label BPI-certified products to their customers can begin the sublicensing process. For information on sublicensing, please visit the Sublicense page (link to) or contact your BPI Project Manager.
Ready to get started? Download this checklist of the certification process.