How to Ensure the Right Eco-Friendly Product for Your Needs
Unfortunately, many companies claim to be “green” without doing the hard work of making environmentally friendly products. Knowing the terms and standards can help you pick the product that best fits your needs.
When purchasing a product, it is essential to consider which end-of-life option is best for you. If you choose to use compostable packaging, it is important to verify the packaging is certified compostable.
Until 2002, there were no specifications or tests to prove compostability, allowing confusion and skepticism to exist for decades. Don’t be afraid to ask to see the certification to ensure a product is certified compostable. All certified compostable products meet ASTM D6400 and/or D6868 standards (EN 13432 / EN 14995 for European products). Some manufacturers, unable to meet the standards of these specifications, will reference ASTM 6954 or ISO 14855, claiming to be certified by some organization and to have met some standard for biodegradation or compostability. Don’t let them fool you. Virtually all of these claims are merely standard procedures for conducting tests and have no requirements for heavy metal content or disintegration.
The terms biodegradable and compostable are not interchangeable. Proper disposal of each type of product is crucial. Checking with your local waste management facility or hauler is a great way to ensure you are doing the right thing. The best way to be environmentally responsible and positively affect the environment is to choose certified compostable packaging.