Earth2Earth 240L Compostable Bin Liners
The composting process helps in rejuvenating the soil, increasing the organic material that is in it, and providing the nutrients that plants need to grow and flourish. Different material in the trash can be composted, from kitchen scraps like the peelings, scraps, spoiled fruits, vegetables, substances like eggshells, tea bags, plus coffee grounds, leftover pasta, those stale cookies, and even mouldy bread. Grass clippings, cardboard, shredded paper, wood shavings- as long as it was once part of a plant, then it can be composted. Junk mail, those old newspapers, cut cloths, bedding from rabbits and guinea pigs, plus other pets that eat plants, pulled weeds, hay, shed leaves- they can be tossed into the compost bin. Which liner will be used for the bin? For starters, it needs to be compostable itself, to enable it to release its contents into the environment, and not plastic- which would lock them in. Factors such as the size and strength of the bin liner also come into play. When large amounts of waste are being handled, you want a product that can hold in the waste without tearing, and one which has enough capacity to handle the volume of waste material that is being generated. Units such as the Earth2Earth 240L Compostable Bin Liners have been developed for this. What’s more, they have been proven to deliver on their mandate.
The Earth2Earth 240L Compostable Bin Liners have been tested and found to have fulfilled standards such as the EN 13432, which assesses compostable and biodegradable polymers, and is also categorised as biobased, going by the ASTM D 6866 standard. Let’s expound on these further:
- EN 13432
It was introduced at the turn of the century, following the EU Directive on Packaging and Packaging Waste (94/62/EC), a standard that has been harmonised across the EU nations, governing compostable and biodegradable packaging. The national standards bodies of the various EU member states adopted it, and it basically enables manufacturers to prove that the products in question are safe for the composting process. The key tests of the EN 13432, with the various pass/fail criteria include:
- Disintegration- this looks at how a material breaks down over time into tiny fragments. A sample of the product gets mixed with organic waste, and then put under composting conditions for a length of time, in this case 12 weeks. After this period elapses, only a maximum of 10% of the product should be larger than 2mm, and it’s even taken through a sieve with the holes of this diameter to ascertain it.
- Biodegradability – Here, the focus is on the microbial action on the material, and how much of the product gets converted into water, carbon dioxide, plus new cell biomass at the end of the test period. The results of the microbial conversation and metabolism under the composting conditions are observed after 6 months. After this period, there amount of carbon dioxide that is generated by the biodegradation process of the test sample should be at a minimum of 90% of the carbon dioxide which is generated by the reference material that it is being compared to.
- Any negative effects of the material on the composting process- of which there should be none. The ecotoxicity tests analyse the residue that is obtained from the disintegration testing, and incorporates the use of actual plant biomass when relying on the compost.
- The concentration of heavy metals, where the amounts in the material should not ruin the quality of the compost that will be produced. For instance, the maximum amounts permissible for lead are 50mg/kg, while arsenic is 5mg/kg. and molybdenum should be below 1mg/kg.
- The effort on aspects of the compost such as the total nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium content, issues such as the bulk density, plus the pH and the salinity of the compost.
Independent laboratories are used to carry out these tests, comparing the results to the pass/fail limits that have been set. The product needs to pass through all these tests for it to be certified to be compostable. The process starts when the certification body receives an application for the testing by a manufacturer. The nature, composition, and ingredients of the packaging sample are then reviewed, and sent to the required laboratory for the testing to be carried out. If the criteria are met, the certification is awarded, allowing the products to carry the compostable logo from the body, which is basically the certification mark that enables consumers to confirm that the product is compostable at just a glance. In order to ensure conformity, the certification is only awarded for a short duration- such as with a validity of 3 years. After this time, it will need to be renewed. Moreover, over the course of the 3 years, the certification body regularly obtains samples from the market, sending them off for more resting. This mode of surveillance ensures that the product that is available for sale meets the same criteria as the samples that had been sent to the laboratories for the initial testing which enabled it to win the certification.
One of the bodies mandated with the certification is Vinçotté, based in Belgium, and which also has offices in Spain, Italy, China, and operations al partners in Korea and Taiwan. The certificate holders from this body are recognised in the entire European market. The Earth2Earth 240L Compostable Bin Liners have passed the testing by the Vinçotté’s OK Compost certification scheme.
- ASTM D 6866
Here, the focus is on the biobased content of the product. This is a method standard that checks the percentage of the biobased carbon of the Earth2Earth 240L Compostable Bin Liners compared to the total organic carbon in the material. It is developed by the ASTM International, and uses the principles of radiocarbon dating. In a nutshell, a ratio of the amount of radiocarbon (14C) in a sample- which in this case is the Earth2Earth® Compostable film, to that of a modern reference standard. The refence material is one that has been accepted by radiocarbon dating community, like with the NIST Standard Reference Material (SRM) 4990C. As such, when making the purchase, you can be sure that you’re getting a unit that meets the environmental sustainability requirements.