OK compost & OK compost HOME
Composting can reduce the volume of organic waste quite significantly, while the compost produced can be used for agricultural and horticultural purposes. About 50% of all domestic waste comprises organic material, a percentage that is set to grow in the future owing to the growing popularity of biodegradable products (packaging material, disposable cutlery and plates, …).
OK compost (EN 13432)
Packaging or products featuring the OK compost label are guaranteed as biodegradable in an industrial composting plant. This applies to all components, inks and additives. The sole reference point for the certification programme is the harmonised EN 13432: 2000 standard: in any event any product featuring the OK compost logo complies with the requirements of the EU Packaging Directive ( 94/62/EEC).
Vinçotte is a certification body authorised by European Bioplastics and may therefore award the Seedling logo to products that are in compliance with EN 13432. By awarding both the OK compost and the Seedling logo, Vinçotte’s certificate holders have a way to give their compostable products recognition throughout the entire European market.
OK compost HOME
Owing to the comparatively smaller volume of waste involved, the temperature in a garden compost heap is clearly lower and less constant than in an industrial composting environment. This is why composting in the garden is a more difficult, slower-paced process.
Vinçotte’s innovative answer to this challenge was to develop OK compost HOME to guarantee complete biodegradability in the light of specific requirements, even in your garden compost heap.
Registration for home compostability in the UK
The OK compost Home certificate is now the basis for registration for home compostability for the British organization “Association for Organics Recycling” in the UK.
Nowhere is done as much on home composting as in the UK. It's a good thing that also bioplastics and related materials after use find their way into the British compost heaps. This brings however, the demand for clarity along: who guarantees that these materials really are compostable?
The British “Association for Organics Recycling” offers all businesses the opportunity to register their wares into a central database for home compostable products. The requirements to comply with this registration? Submitting a valid OK compost HOME certificate. The OK compost HOME certificate and registration at AfOR can also be requested simultaneously.
FAQWhat is the difference between "OK compost" and "OK compost HOME"?
Products that are solely OK compost-certified are those that compost only in industrial composting facilities (at temperatures between 55 to 60°C), so products that are solely OK compost-certified should not go into the garden compost.
Conversely, OK compost HOME refers to products that also compost at lower temperatures, so they can go into the compost heap in your garden at home, hence the title "HOME".
People often get "biodegradable" and "compostable" mixed up but they do not mean the same thing. A biodegradable product may be broken down by microorganisms but this does not necessarily imply that the product can be converted into good quality compost.
Biodegradability and compostability rely heavily on the environment where the product is broken down. As each environment (compost, soil, water, …) has different temperatures and microorganisms, the speed of the biodegradation process may vary from one site to another.
For example, bioplastics which are biodegradable in an industrial composting plant (the most aggressive atmosphere regime) are not always biodegradable in water or soil, or even in a compost bin in the garden (owing to the lower temperatures).
The European Norm about compostability of packaging (EN 13432) requires (besides a clear and detailed description of the product) 4 tests:
- test on biodegradation (chemical break down of the polymer of fibres)
- test on disintegration (physically falling apart of the product in small fragments)
- test on ecotoxicity (test if the composted product does not exert any negative effect on plants)
- test on heavy metals content
NOTE – Biodegradation, ecotoxicity and heavy metal content are characteristics of the material, whereas disintegration is a characteristic of the material and shape (final product).