Plastics Composting at Home
As landfills continue to expand, many consumers continue to look for ways to recycle. A proposed new ASTM International standard, WK35342, Specification for Home Composting of Biodegradable Plastics, will educate consumers on the process of home composting these materials. The proposed standard will illustrate great potential for responsible home waste management.
“The proposed standard is very important,” says ASTM member Robert Whitehouse, an independent consultant with expertise in biobased and biodegradable polymer formulation and processing. “Home composting is not a process well-known by most consumers.”
Whitehouse notes that many towns, cities and colleges have active home composting groups where composting knowledge is shared. The standard under development would provide education that could lead to more homeowner adoption of composting procedures.
According to Whitehouse, the proposed standard will contain performance requirements. In order for a product to be considered home compostable, it would need to meet these requirements when tested by an independent laboratory. Meeting the requirements will allow the packaging material to have “Home Compostability” printed on it. This label will also allow brand owners, retailers, fast food outlets and others to provide consumers with information concerning their methods to reduce landfills and waste.
Subcommittee D20.96 on Environmentally Degradable Plastics and Biobased Products, part of ASTM Committee D20 on Plastics, is developing WK35342. Anyone interested in composting is encouraged to join in the ongoing development of the proposed standard.