Scion can measure the compostability of a range of different materials. Internationally, several standards have been established that outline the tests required to validate if a material is compostable or not.
One component of compostability is biodegradation. Other standard tests include chemical characterisation, disintegration and ecotoxity.
Supporting compostability certification
Scion’s compostability facility is the only DIN-CERTCO-accredited testing facility in Australasia.
Being able to design, manufacture, test and certify compostable products and materials is crucial for the success and future growth of New Zealand’s packaging and plastics related businesses.
Scion can test the compostability (which includes biodegradation) of materials as part of a manufacturer’s or producer’s application for certification by a certifying body such as DIN-CERTCO or the Australasian Bioplastics Association, for example.
How do home compostable items differ from commercially compostable, and what does bio-degradable mean?
Guides to plastic sorting and disposal have been created by WasteMINZ and Scion plastics and compostability experts.
Material breakdown in different environments
Materials break down in all sorts of environments, not just home compost heaps or industrial composting facilities. How different materials break down over time and in different conditions such as water, sea water, soil and other media can all be tested at Scion.
AgResearch and Scion have been collaborating on a project that compares how woollen and synthetic fibres break down in sea water.
Watch a video from AgResearch on the project.
Study: Investigating compostable materials in New Zealand composting systems
Much single-use compostable food packaging in New Zealand ends up in landfills rather than being composted. One reason for this is consumer confusion around how products identified as compostable can be treated at end-of-life. In addition, there are concerns about the extent to which these materials degrade in the range of composting environments used throughout the country.
A practical study led by Scion aims to assure commercial and home composters that materials branded as compostable will degrade in the New Zealand context.
The study is investigating the degradation of different materials in industrial and home composting systems. It is designed to determine whether packaging certified as compostable according to European Standard EN 13432 will break down in New Zealand composting facilities within the required period and without detriment to the final compost product.
The project is ongoing, and is due to be completed by the end of 2022. The study is funded by the Ministry for the Environment’s Waste Minimisation Fund with additional funding from Convex.