Certified industrially/commercially compostable products need to be proven to break down completely into compost in the space of one full commercial composting cycle. Commercial composting offers us the chance to commercially compost both disposable catering ware products and any food waste in one go, leaving rich compost behind and no landfill.
What exactly is the AS 4736 standard for biodegradable plastic?
If a plastic material claims to be biodegradable and compostable in Australia, it must comply with Australian standard AS 4736‐2006. This standard provides assessment criteria for plastic materials that are to be biodegraded in municipal and commercial aerobic composting facilities. This Australian standard is similar to the widely known European EN 13432 standard, but has an additional requirement of a worm test. In order to comply with the AS 4736‐2006, plastic materials need to meet the following requirements:
minimum of 90% biodegradation of plastic materials within 180 days in compost
minimum of 90% of plastic materials should disintegrate into less than 2mm pieces in compost within 12 weeks
no toxic effect of the resulting compost on plants and earthworms.
hazardous substances such as heavy metals should not be present above the maximum allowed levels
plastic materials should contain more than 50% organic materials.