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What exactly does the European Norm EN 13432 mean?
The European Norm EN-13432 compromises all requirements for packaging recoverable through composting and biodegradation. This harmonised European standard provides an accompanying test scheme and evaluation criteria for determining whether various materials can be considered compostable and biodegradable. Our biodegradable packaging and disposables are strictly manufactured in accordance with the norm.
Biodegradable and compostable
Biodegradable material can break down through the action of a naturally occurring microorganism (bacteria and fungi) to mineral aggregates such as biomass, water, carbon dioxide (CO2) or methane (CH4) in a chemical process under certain conditions (oxygen, temperature, moisture) over a period of time. In order to avoid any confusion, this doesn’t mean that the product of packaging can be converted into good quality compost. Not all biodegradable material is compostable, while all compostable material is biodegradable. For a product to be claimed fully compostable, it must completely break down in an appropriate industrial composting machine or home compost pile without releasing any toxins or metals into usable compost called humus, which provides valuable nutrients to the soil.
The European standard EN-13432 defines the following criteria a product must fulfil in order to be regenerated through organic recovery in a composting setting in a specific time frame:
- Disintegration: After 12 weeks at least 90% of the product should be able to break down to material fragments no larger than 2 mm.
- Biodegradation: Within a maximum of 6 months at least 90% of the organic material has to be converted into CO2, water and minerals.
- Chemical composition: Maximum admissible concentrations of heavy metals (Cu, Zn, Ni, Cd, Pb, Hg, Cr, Mo, Se, As) and fluorine shall not be exceeded.
- Quality of the final compost and ecotoxicity: The quality of the compost should not decrease as a result of the added packaging material.