Communicating compostability

A product can be claimed ‘compostable’, if it meets the criteria in the EN 13432. However, there are a few things to bear in mind.

According to EU legislation a product can be claimed ‘compostable’, if it has been properly tested in accordance with the EN 13432 standard and all the criteria set in that standard have been met. No third-party certification is required.

Communication of the compostability claim is currently not regulated or standardized, which on the other hand gives freedom for creativity but also adds the risk of misinterpretations and confusion. Therefore, clarity and transparency should be at core when using the compostability claim in communications and marketing.

Although ‘compostability’ is a term used for products which can be processed in an industrial composting plant, it is sometimes used to refer to home composting and even to biodegradation in natural environment. Hence, to avoid misunderstandings it is recommended to use the more specific term ‘industrially compostable’. To add even more clarity ‘industrially compostable in accordance with EN 13432’ can be used.

Certifying your product

A third-party certificate such as the Seedling may be seen as advantageous in communicating the compostability claim and adding credibility. However, practice has shown that even though the Seedling certificate is appreciated in many contexts, not all stakeholders recognize it. In some context the EN 13432, in fact, is more commonly known.

Seedling certificate is product-specific, meaning that any application of the product, e.g. filling of a jar with cosmetics substance, requires separate testing of the jar. However, references to items that already have been certified may significantly lower the testing expenditure, and the process for certifying a product manufactured solely of materials already registered with no further additives is more straightforward.

For products, e.g. shopping bags, cutlery and clothing hangers, the certification is valid for three years and includes the right to use the “Seedling” mark. The certification process itself may take up to 12 months.

If you wish to communicate about the compostability of Sulapac®, you can simply download our self declaration of compostability.

Download Sulapac declaration of industrial compostability