The BPI Certification Mark indicates the end-of-life opportunity for a compostable product. BPI Certification guides manufacturers in designing items, understanding what ingredients they can use, and how to make an independent compostability claim that consumers and composters can trust. The BPI Certification Mark helps consumers to identify and trust that an item is compostable and can be diverted with food scraps where programs exist. Composters are able to identify and trust that certified products mixed with food scraps and yard trimmings will break down during the regular composting process and will not negatively impact compost quality.
The BPI Certification process is rigorous and ensures that items can be cycled back into the soil safely at a commercial composting facility. This is done through testing to ASTM standards and applying additional restrictions on carcinogens and fluorinated chemicals. More details on the BPI Certification process, including testing, approved labs, and our certification scheme, can be found in the Certification section.
BPI third party certification distinguishes the manufacturers and brands that make products that comply with scientific standards from those that do not. When looking at a product that is self-declared to be compliant by the manufacturer or brand, a consumer or composter will not know what standards have been met for the product. The third-party certification process ensures that correct components are used and that the correct tests have been conducted to ensure safety for the environment. For instance, imagine seeing “organic” written on a food product but not seeing the USDA Organic mark. The USDA Organic mark tells the consumer that a third party has confirmed the claim. The BPI Certification Mark serves the same purpose for industrially compostable products in North America.
Washington State requires third-party certification of products as proof that they meet the relevant ASTM standards for compostability and requires products to meet industry standards for being distinguishable upon quick inspection by consumers and solid waste processing facilities. Other states are starting to work towards similar labeling guidelines.
The BPI Certification Scheme requires testing according to ASTM standards for compostability. In 1991, 15 organizations formed the Degradable Polymeric Materials Program as part of ASTM’s Institute for Standards Research (ISR), with the objective “to determine the behavior of degradable polymeric materials in real disposal systems, and how those results correlate with laboratory results, in order to assure that such materials are safe for disposal and effectively degraded.” After five years of testing, the Standard Guide to Assess the Compostability of Environmentally Degradable Plastics was issued in October 1996, along with a final report, a 130-page compilation of compost test reports and a compost bibliographic database with more than 6,500 abstracts and references. ASTM standards must be updated and revisited at least every 5 years to remain active and are recognized around the world.