Holding a handful of soil

Compostable and Home Compostable Certification?

As plastic pollution continues to worsen, numerous organisations have taken measures to reduce plastic usage in their products. While companies like Unilever, Nestlè and Coca-Cola have committed to using less plastic and increasing the use of recycled materials in their packaging, recycling alone is not a long-term solution. Plastic can only be recycled a finite number of times, so it is crucial to consider what happens to the material at the end of its life.

Unfortunately compostable bioplastics also take a lot of time: 3-6 months to return back to nature! By using compostable bioplastics, we may or may not find a more sustainable solution to plastic pollution, as the number of bioplastics we use on a daily basis and just in Australia is massive - just imagine that 4.6 million cups of coffee are sold every day in the country!

Uuvipak is introducing a set of packaging which is as good as you can eat it. Our innovative packaging can be easily composted at home, breaking down completely within just 3 weeks in a home compost bin, a backyard, or any natural environment. 

However till date most of the widely available packaging which exists are either plastics or compostable bioplastics. The compostable bioplastics are available in two main categories: industrially/commercially compostable and home compostable. Here is a bit more insight about both categories:

Industrial composting

When a product is labeled as "industrially" or "commercially" compostable, it requires specific microbial conditions and higher temperatures to be transformed into useful compost. These materials include polylactic acids (PLA), which are made from corn-starch or sugar-cane and possess similar characteristics to traditional petroleum-based plastics. However, PLA and other compostable bioplastics can be composted at the end of their lives, with the process taking as little as 180 days under ideal conditions.

To be deemed "commercially compostable" or "industrially compostable," products must undergo testing and certifications. In the US, products must pass ASTM D6400 protocols and criteria, which specify a timeframe of 180 days for both physical breakdown and chemical breakdown/compost production. The European equivalent is EN 13432. Once a product passes testing, the results can be sent to a 3rd-party organisation like the Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI) in the US or TUV Austria in Europe for certification.

TUV Austria Industrial Compost
AS 4376 Australia
BPI Compostable

It is essential to check for these certifications, as there are far fewer commercial composting facilities than landfills or recycling plants. Currently, the US has only 185 full-time commercial composting facilities, so it is crucial to ensure that your community can properly dispose of industrially compostable products. By choosing products with ASTM D6400, EN 13432, BPI, or TUV Industrial logos, you can have peace of mind that the product will complete a circular lifecycle if disposed of correctly.

Home composting

Composting at home is a newer and more accessible alternative to industrial composting. Home compostable materials are designed to decompose and compost in a home setting, at natural temperatures and with naturally occurring microorganisms. PHA (polyhydroxyalkanoates) is a common and new home compostable bioplastic made from canola oil that maintains the necessary characteristics of traditional plastics while being able to fully compost at the end of its lifecycle.

Unlike industrial composting, the standards for certifying a material as home compostable are still evolving as the need for these certifications has only recently emerged. Currently, there is no ASTM test standard for home composting, and BPI does not include home compostable materials in their certification process. The Australian standard AS 5810 is a common basis for home compostable testing, requiring disintegration within 6 months and complete composting and biodegradation within a year. TUV Austria provides the OK compost HOME certification based on this standard, along with the French standard NF T 51800 and prEN 17427. This certification guarantees that the product will compost in a home compost environment within a year. In the US, there is currently no equivalent certification to OK compost HOME, as BPI only certifies for industrial composting. Therefore, when choosing a compostable product, AS 5810 is the best sign to look for.

AS 5810 Australia
TUV Austria Home Compostable
CIC Compostabile Italia

Uuvipak products surpass even home-compostable items in terms of sustainability. While many home-compostable products rely on PHA and take at least six months to decompose, Uuvipak products break down naturally in just three to four weeks and are even edible. With over 10 billion plastic items in use daily worldwide, a staggering 3% of these items end up in our oceans, causing harm to marine life. While bioplastic PHA products on the market are home-compostable and break down in six months, they are still damaging to marine life. Uuvipak products, on the other hand, are entirely safe for any organism that may come into contact with them.

Landfill & Marine Biodegradation

The final certification area to consider is for materials in marine and landfill environments. It's important to distinguish between composting, which provides nutrients and fertilizer to the earth, and biodegrading, which breaks down materials into harmless elements. In a marine environment, composting is not possible due to the liquid medium, and in a landfill environment, there is no oxygen to convert materials into compost. However, materials in these environments can still biodegrade.

To certify materials for anaerobic biodegradation under accelerated landfill conditions, ASTM D5526 is used. This reduces the volume of waste in landfills and can increase economic landfill-gas recovery. There is currently no equivalent test standard for this certification in other parts of the world. Products that pass ASTM D5526 can be classified as certified landfill biodegradable.

Fish in the sea

For marine biodegradability, ASTM D6691 outlines the test standards for materials to be labeled as "marine degradable." These standards require physical breakdown in 3 months and biodegradation in 6 months. Other standards include OECD 306 from France and ISO 16221, an international standard. Although there is no certifying body for marine degradation in the US, TUV Austria provides an OK biodegradable MARINE certification based on the test results of D6691. However, it's important to note that this certification is only issued to products meant for use in a marine environment, such as fishing gear, to prevent consumers from littering trash into the ocean.


As the push for greener practices continues to grow, it's more important than ever to be able to separate truly eco-friendly products from greenwashed ones.

Greenwashing is still a problem, and it's not always easy to know which products are genuinely good for the planet and which are just trying to cash in on the latest trend. But with increased awareness and legal action being taken against misleading claims, corporations are being held more accountable for their environmental impact.

So whether you're a conscious consumer or a sustainability-minded business, it's time to buckle up and stay informed about the ever-evolving world of eco-friendly products and environmental claims. 

Let's work together to create a healthier, more sustainable planet for all!

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.