The BPI Certification Process

Once a completed application has been submitted and payment has been received, the applicant will receive a required test scheme from BPI’s technical reviewer, DIN CERTCO. This scheme identifies the tests that must be completed by an external, BPI-Approved Lab to scientifically-verify that the items will successfully break down in professionally managed composting facilities without harming the quality of the finished compost. These tests must be completed and the results submitted to BPI for the application to move to the Technical Review phase of the process. The BPI Certification Scheme is helpful in understanding all of the elements that are required in the Testing phase of the process, and BPI recommends that all applicants read it carefully.

All certifications and recertifications require, at a minimum, Metals / Fluorine, Ash (VOC), and FTIR, thickness / grammage measurement. These must have been conducted within the past 12 months. Depending on the specific formulation, other tests might be required on the end product or certain ingredients, as described below. These tests do not have an expiration date for validity purposes.

Biodegradation testing measures the inherent ability of the organic carbon in a material to be consumed by microorganisms and shows that the material or item will not accumulate in nature. 

Disintegration testing measures whether the finished item physically breaks down and falls apart, demonstrates that the item will not create visual contamination in the compost, and indicates that the item is being successfully attacked by microorganisms (so that the carbon is readily available for biodegradation). It is based on the maximum thickness (or grammage for natural fiber) of the finished item.  The maximum thickness/grammage of the product used for the disintegration test determines the certified maximum thickness/grammage for the item.  Resins and components should be certified to a maximum thickness/usage that will cover the thickest/densest usage of the resin/component by customers.   

Compost Quality testing includes Metals / Fluorine, Ash (VOC), and FTIR, as well tests for Carcinogens, Reproductive Toxins, and Mutagens (CRM). These tests and restrictions are designed to ensure that the compostable material or item does not have negative effects on compost quality. 

To read further on all tests refer to the BPI Certification Scheme.

Testing fees are determined and collected by each individual lab and are not part of BPI’s fees.  

The time required to complete individual tests varies with current lab capacities. BPI recommends contacting approved labs as soon as a test scheme has been provided to schedule tests and determine how much time to budget for this phase of the process.

Independent laboratories are used for BPI certification, and Members may choose any lab that has been approved by BPI and DIN CERTCO.  The approval process ensures the tests are done by an accredited or compliant laboratory capable of doing the tests for ASTM 6400 and 6868.

Click here for a list of BPI-Approved Labs.

Interested in becoming a BPI-Approved Lab?

The BPI Certification Process

BPI is a science-driven organization that supports a shift to the circular economy by promoting the production, use, and appropriate end of lives for materials and products that are designed to fully biodegrade in specific biologically active environments.

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