Working Group 3 of the Technical Committee (TC) 411 of CEN has developed different standards for the measurement of the renewable content of biobased materials and, therefore, bioplastics. Most importantly, the European norm EN 16640 „Bio-based products – Determination of the bio-based carbon content of products using the radiocarbon method“, published in 2017, describes how to measure the carbon isotope 14C (radiocarbon method). In addition, the standard EN 16785-1 „Bio-based products – Bio-based content – Part 1: Determination of the bio-based content using the radiocarbon analysis and elemental analysis“ has been developed to also account for other bio-based elements in a polymer through elemental analysis.
EN 13432 “Requirements for packaging recoverable through composting and biodegradation” is the European standard for biodegradable packaging designed for treatment in industrial composting facilities and anaerobic digestion. It requires at least 90% disintegration after twelve weeks and includes tests on ecotoxicity and heavy metal content.
There is currently no international standard specifying the conditions for home composting of biodegradable plastics. However, there are several national standards, such as the Australian norm AS 5810 “Biodegradable plastics – biodegradable plastics suitable for home composting” as well as the French standard NF T 51-800 “Plastics — Specifications for plastics suitable for home composting” requires at least 90% degradation in 12 months at ambient temperature.
A new standard EN 17033 “Biodegradable mulch films for use in agriculture and horticulture – Requirements and test methods” (expected to be published in 2017) specifies the requirements for biodegradable films, manufactured from thermoplastic materials, to be used for mulching applications in agriculture and horticulture, which are not intended to be removed. A degradation of at least 90% in two years at preferably 25°C will be required.