Standardization News

Home Composting of Biodegradable Plastics

ASTM International Committee D20 on Plastics is currently developing a new standard, WK35342, Specification for Home Composting of Biodegradable Plastics. The proposed standard is under the jurisdiction of Subcommittee D20.96 on Environmentally Degradable Plastics and Biobased Products.

According to Robert Whitehouse, Ph.D., senior customer applications development manager, Metabolix Inc., and a D20.96 member, developing a standard on home composting makes sense on both economic and educational levels.

"Home composting reduces the amount of volume of trash for curbside collection and associated landfill fees," says Whitehouse. "Municipalities have the same interest since their served costs are reduced from less trash collection and landfill options.

"Education is equally important, because the home consumer may have very little knowledge regarding plastic materials that can be biodegraded through the home composting process, hence they need to have the packaging marked by the brand owners so that items can be distinguished from non-biodegradable materials."

Whitehouse says that the proposed standard will have several types of potential users, including resin producers, packaging converters, retailers/brand owners and consumers. Whitehouse notes that state and municipal governments, as well as food packaging producers and homeowners, are also among the wide variety of possible users for WK35342.

The subcommittee encourages packaging converters, retailers, brand owners, home composters and other interested parties to become involved in the development of WK35242.

CONTACT Technical Information: Robert S. Whitehouse, Ph.D., Metabolix Inc. • Cambridge, Mass. • Phone: 978-513-1815 | ASTM Staff: Alyson Fick • Phone: 610-832-9710 | Upcoming Meeting: Nov. 11-14 • November Committee Week • Atlanta, Ga.

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