German study: compostable bioplastics are not threatening the quality of compost

In recent months, the German Witzenhausen institute and the University of Bayreuth released a new field study proving that compostable bioplastic bags, certified according to the European standard EN 13432, do not impact negatively on the quality of compost produced by industrial composting processes. 

The results of this study show that compostable bags are suited for organic waste collection by breaking down completely and reducing plastic contamination (traces of plastic residues). Moreover, it provides consumers with hygienic and more sustainable solutions for the separate collection of biowaste.

The detailed study results are published in the latest May edition of the German trade magazine „Müll und Abfall“, the scientists analysed a total of 30 samples and in 25 of them no residues from compostable bags were detected. This is in sharp contrast to the 98 percent of the plastic particles that were found derived from polyethylene (PE) or other conventional plastics. It can therefore be assumed that the use of compostable plastic bags for the biowaste collection would lead to a significant reduction in plastic particles in the compost if PE bags were substituted.

The outcome of this study is similar to another recent Dutch scientific study of the University of Wageningen. Both of these studies add important data to a discussion which, so far, has been considerably deflected by emotional arguments rather than scientific ones. 


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