Compostable bioplastics biodegrade in real conditions: Study

Compostable bioplastics biodegrade in real conditions: Study

The preliminary report of this study provides conclusive evidence

  • By ICN Bureau | June 20, 2023

Chaire CoPack, in partnership with AgroParisTech and the University of Montpellier, has conducted a scientific study that validates the biodegradation of certified compostable food contact packaging in industrial composting facilities.

The preliminary report of this study provides conclusive evidence that certified compostable packaging is a viable sustainable solution to waste management in the food packaging industry.

The composting test used 20 tons of food- and bio-waste collected from households, along with 323 kg of assorted certified compostable packaging. In parallel, a 'control' compost test was conducted with no packaging added.

"We are thrilled to see the findings of this study," said Paolo La Scola, the Public Affairs Manager at TotalEnergies Corbion. "The results send a strong signal to governments across Europe to grant certified compostable plastics access to biowaste collection and composting infrastructure. It’s necessary to reduce plastic waste mismanagement."

The research, carried out over a four-month period from October 2022 to February 2023, took place with real industrial composting conditions without forced aeration. Researchers from the University of Montpellier and AgroParisTech monitored the study in collaboration with the industrial composting platform of the Syndicat de Centre Héraut in Aspiran.

The study examined commercially available food packaging representative of the European market such as compostable bags, film, food trays, and coffee pods composed of different resins certified for industrial composting (EN 13432) or home composting (NF T51-800). These products were made from biodegradable and compostable resins like PLA, PBAT, and complexed starch sourced from members of the French Association of Biobased Compostables, including Novamont and TotalEnergies Corbion.

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