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BPI News Library

News and information from BPI.
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  • 20 Mar 2014 8:40 AM | David S. Brooks (Administrator)
    This year's WasteExpo will feature the 2nd Annual Composting & Organics Conference with a veritable 'Who's Who' of Composting & Organics Recycling.

    You can download the conference program here.

    Dates:  April 28 - May 1st

    Waste Age is one of the largest events for recycling. composting and waste diversion professionals.  Network with more than 12,000 Attendees & 550 Exhibitors from all over the U.S. & around the world together to engage in industry education, networking, and business opportunities.

    For more information, visit http://www.wasteexpo.com/

  • 17 Sep 2013 3:49 PM | David S. Brooks (Administrator)

    Composters, consumers and foodservice companies will now have unprecedented detail – and confidence -- in BPI Certified Compostable Products thanks to the industry’s first item-level online database of products.

    Funded by the Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI), the new Compostable Products Catalog features more than 3,300 different compostable product “skus” (shelf keeping units), including foodservice ware (cups, cutlery, plates & trays), resins and coatings, compostable bags and films.

    The catalog is believed to be the world’s first web-based catalog to offer searchable product-level information on compostable products.

    In addition to item-level product specifications, the web site also gives buyers category-specific lists of more than 140 suppliers of compostable products with contact information, website links, email addresses, and up-to-date product certification status.

    According to Steven A. Mojo, BPI Executive Director, this enhanced level of detail helps build trust and greater acceptance of compostable products at all levels of the value chain.

    “Compostable products substitute for non-degradable plastics in zero waste diversion efforts, making it easier to compost waste streams that are predominantly food scraps or wet/soiled paper,” said Mojo. “The new BPI catalog provides accurate, item-level identification of these certified products: essential information composters need to demand that waste generators purchase and use only specific, BPI- approved products.”

    The new BPI catalog will be a real resource for my clients as they look to source compostable cutlery, foodservice items and bags”, stated Carla Castagnero, President of AgRecycle, Inc., of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania’s largest composter.”

    Mojo agreed, claiming the new catalog will display product and vendor information by popular application categories, making ‘comparison shopping’ easy.

    “With more than 63 application categories, there is a surprisingly large and diverse collection of compostable products available,” said Mojo. “The new catalog opens up more choices - and more suppliers - to help consumers and businesses replace plastics and make composting more efficient and lost costly than landfill disposal.”

    About BPI

    The Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI) is a 503-(c)6 , not-for-profit organization that educates, advocates, and certifies compostable materials to be safe for large-scale composting. It then licenses companies to use BPI Compostable Logo on products and marketing materials, helping consumers and composters make informed choices. It is the largest certification organization for compostable products in North America.

    Any materials or products meeting ASTM D6400 or D6868 test requirements, as performed in a BPI-approved laboratory, then certified by and independent authority, can become BPI Certified.

    About Composting

    According to the EPA, in 2011, the United States sent more than 35 million tons of food scraps, wet/soiled paper, and yard waste to landfills or incinerators. This waste is predominantly organic and compostable, except for contamination from relatively small amounts of comingled, non-degradable plastic items - contaminants that make composting costly and inefficient.

    Substituting BPI-certified compostable products for these non-degradable contaminants can dramatically improve the efficiency and quality of composting, allowing composting to be a more practical and sustainable organic recycling option.

    Thousands of towns and cities throughout North America already compost more than 19 million tons of yard waste according to the US EPA. Hundreds of communities and private businesses compost food scraps and wet/soiled papers. Many states and communities (Vermont, Massachusetts, and Connecticut) have banned, or are contemplating bans, on biodegradable trash from being landfilled, increasing demand for composting as a recycling alternative.

  • 10 Aug 2012 4:47 PM | David S. Brooks (Administrator)
    The London Olympic Organizing Committee has refined a zero-waste process for this Summer’s Olympic Games.

    Among the innovations:
    • Increased use of compostable food service items to facilitate mixed organics composting.
    • Source-separation of mixed organic wastes.
    • Ban on carrier bags from retail establishments.
    You can read about the success of LOCOG zero waste efforts here: http://www.greenbiz.com/news/2012/08/03/london-olympics-waste-recovery and obtain a copy of the guidelines from this link: http://www.london2012.com/documents/sustainability/london-2012-zero-waste-games-vision.pdf
  • 05 Jul 2012 12:03 PM | David S. Brooks (Administrator)

    The Wall Street Journal reported on June 27 that the City of Portland, Ore. has achieved dramatic reductions in municipal trash thanks to a focus on mixed organics recycling at the household level.

    The article entitled Portland Puts New Twist on Trash Pickup, says Portland has abolished weekly trash collection due to the dramatic reduction in trash, almost 25 fewer truckloads per day.

    Portland is expected to save money over time, city managers say, because the cost of disposing "green" trash (via composting) can be as much as $40-per-ton cheaper than processing landfill trash.

    The article link above also includes a video.



  • 11 Jan 2012 11:15 AM | David S. Brooks (Administrator)

    To handle a five-fold increase in compostable product certifications, the Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI) today announced that it’s successful “Compostable Logo” effort will be administered by NSF International (Ann Arbor, MI) beginning in January 2012.

    The NSF is a global certification organization which will verify manufacturers’ claims of compostability in large-scale composting facilities.  Companies submit products and testing data to substantiate the biodegradation, disintegration and absence of eco-toxicity of their products including compostable bags, foodservice items, packaging materials, and other consumer products.  After certification, manufacturers, authorized distributors and resellers may then license the BPI’s “Compostable Logo” for marketing claims.

    NSF International will now accept and review certification requests to ensure that all BPI-certified products continue to meet ASTM D6400 or ASTM D6868 standards for compostability.  Actual licensing and market development efforts will remain the responsibility of the BPI.

    NSF is a global leader in third-party, independent product certification and testing, and is actively involved in the development of global public health standards. NSF brings to the BPI’s certification program more than 65 years’ experience, including national and international accreditations, and global operations that today serve more than 10,000 certification customers in 150 countries worldwide.

    The new service agreement is designed to bolster the credibility and capability of the 10-year old BPI “Compostable Logo” program, which has experienced unprecedented growth in recent years.  By partnering with NSF, the BPI certification program will also comply with the requirements of ISO Guide 65, the internationally recognized standard for third-party certification bodies.

                “The BPI Compostable Logo is widely recognized by consumers, composters and municipal officials throughout North America as the preferred trademark to assure compostability in commercial facilities,” said Steven A. Mojo, BPI’s executive director.  “As more companies recognize the importance and value of food waste diversion and composting, coupled with the increasing importance of responsible environmental marketing claims about compostability, we anticipate even more growth in the years ahead”. 

                “NSF International’s expertise and recognition in both product certification and sustainability will increase the credibility of the BPI’s effort,” stated Tom Bruursema, General Manager NSF Sustainability, a division of NSF International.  “Our new partnership will create a strong foundation to support BPI’s anticipated growth.”

                According to Mojo, this agreement will also enable the BPI to expand its educational and marketing activities for compostable products throughout North America. “While product certification is the foundation of BPI’s mission, our members look to us to act as a leading advocate for the key issues that face all manufacturers of compostable products in North America,” added Mojo. “This agreement allows BPI to handle more product certifications while expanding its reach to better serve the needs of our industry.”

                The BPI awarded the first “Compostable Logo” in 2002 in an effort to distinguish compostable plastic applications from ones made of traditional non-degradable plastics.  Since then more than 238 products have been certified by BPI by more than 130 global companies.  

    #  #  #

  • 07 Jul 2011 2:00 PM | David S. Brooks (Administrator)

    A North Carolina State University study, published online in the May 27 issue of Environmental Science & Technology (ES&T), leaves the impression that “biobased biodegradable products” potentially generate large amounts of methane when they are landfilled. The Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI) believes that the headlines and conclusions of this work are inappropriate.

    There are two fallacies in the article’s arguments.

    First, the author, James Levis, leads the reader to believe that since a biobased material will quickly biodegrade under aerobic conditions, such as composting, that it will also do so under the anaerobic conditions found in landfills. This is not the case.

    Composting is designed to promote rapid aerobic biodegradation by optimizing the moisture, temperature and feedstocks in the compost piles. Landfills are largely anaerobic and the microbial population in them differs significantly from that of a compost pile. We know that within a few months, products made from polylactic acid (PLA) will biodegrade rapidly and completely under composting conditions. However, research shows that this is not the case for PLA under anaerobic conditions. The chart below shows that very little biodegradation of PLA takes place under standardized testing.

    At the end of 160 days, biodegradation has not started for any of the test samples.


    Source: http://www.natureworksllc.com/the-ingeo-journey/end-of-life-options/landfill.aspx

    Testing for other “compostable” resins shows much the same result-limited biodegradation under anaerobic conditions.

    Second, biodegradable products make up a miniscule portion of the solid waste stream. Today, the projected annual market sales for all ‘compostable’ resins in North America are approximately 100,000 tons.  By comparison, the EPA’s Solid Waste Characterization for 2009 shows US generated:

    • 25.9 million tons of Paper and Board
    • 33.4 million tons of Food Waste
    • 13.3 million tons of Yard Trimmings.

    Source: Table 3 Chap. 2:   http://www.epa.gov/epawaste/nonhaz/municipal/pubs/msw2009rpt.pdf

    One can see that the volume of “compostable” resins is dwarfed by the millions of tons rapidly biodegrading paper, food and yard debris that the US continues to landfill every year.

    Oddly, the ES&T article does not mention Dr. Barlaz’s prior work, Estimation of Waste Component-Specific Landfill Decay Rates Using Laboratory-Scale Decomposition Data, published in 2010. 

    In this study, Dr. Barlaz explored the kinetics of biodegradation of different feedstocks. One of the conclusions of his research: eliminating all food and yard waste can reduce the total landfill methane production by 30-35%.

    The BPI believes that the May 2011 ES&T article should have focused on the key contributors to greenhouse gases and should been titled “Food Scraps and Paper: The Root Cause of Methane from Landfills.


    A More Logical Conclusion

    Rather than maintaining the current status quo of solid waste handling, the BPI believes the real issue is to prevent putrescible materials from being landfilled in the first place. Communities should work to recycle food scraps and wet unrecyclable papers in managed compost facilities, where they will be converted aerobically into useful soil amendments, or send to anaerobic digesters, where the methane can be captured much more safely than in a landfill.

    Maybe we can learn something from our neighbor’s to the north. Today 25% of Canada’s population has access to residential collection of food scraps.  After only a few years of operation, today these organics recycling programs are diverting approximately 12-15% of Canadian food waste.

    Finally, the BPI shares Dr. Barlaz’s concern for the growing number of “biodegradable” claims, for products that are typically landfilled. Many of these claims are spurred by additive suppliers that would like consumers to think that it is OK to throw products in the trash, as they will somehow magically disappear.

    The National Advertising Division of the Better Business Bureau (NAD) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have repeatedly determined that these types of claims are misleading. Moreover, the BPI has conducted three anaerobic biodegradation tests on plastic products with “biodegradable additives”. At the end of 60 days, little or no biodegradation was evident. Further, the tests indicated that no biodegradation could be anticipated in the future. You can find these tests starting at the link below:

    http://www.bpiworld.org/BPI-Public/News/Article.html

    The BPI applauds those responsible marketers who are making efforts to convert packaging products and products so that they can be effectively diverted from landfills through composting and recycling, rather than following the Siren’s call of “biodegradable.”

    Steven A. Mojo
    BPI Executive Director

    July 5, 2011

  • 13 May 2011 2:05 PM | Steve Mojo (Administrator)

    The BPI tested Aquamantra PET Bottles at a second lab, Organic Waste Systems, using ASTM D5511. After 45 days, the test was stopped, as no biodegradation was observed. Specifically, the positive control achieved 85% after 15 days and finished at 87.3% at the end of the test. The PET test sample showed no biodegradation during the entire 45 day test period.

    The test report can be downloaded from the link below:
    OWS Aquamantra Final Report Mar 11.pdf

    The BPI has now tested PET bottles in 2 independent labs. The first test ran 60 days, the sample achieved 10% of the positive control and no further biodegradation was evident at the end of the period. The second test results were not as successful, with no biodegradation witnessed after 45 days.

  • 04 Apr 2011 9:25 AM | Steve Mojo (Administrator)

    NSF conducted a test of biodegradable" polyethelyne bags sold by Green Genius, using ASTM D5511. This product used an "organic" biodegradable additive.

    After 60 days, the bags achieved an overall biodegradation total of 0.16% or less than 1% of the positive control. Additionally. the biodegradation process has stopped, as the gas generation curve plateaued.

    This marks the second 60 test showing that the overall level of biodegration stopped before the end of the test in products made from traditional resin that incorporate "organic" biodegradable additives.

    Follow the link below for the entire test report:NSF PE Green Genius Final Report Mar 11.pdf

     

  • 07 Mar 2011 9:13 AM | Steve Mojo (Administrator)

    Below is a presentation covering the latest developments of compostable plastic bags in Canada. The BPI would like to thank the Canadian Plastics Industry Association and VisionQuest Environmental Strategies Corp. for supplying the information.

    Canadian NTL Compostable Bag Final MAR 2011.pdf.

     

    If you would like to use this data in your presentations, please contact the BPI at info@bpiworld.org

     

  • 01 Feb 2011 10:03 AM | Steve Mojo (Administrator)

    NSF conducted a test of Aquamantra's "Biodegradable" PET bottle, using ASTM D5511. After 60 days, the bottle achieved an overall biodegradation total of 4.47% or 10% of the positive control. Moreover, the biodegradation process has stopped, as the gas generation curve has plateaued. Per ASTM D5511-11, the results of this test cannot be extrapolated to claim that the bottle will fully biodedgrade in the future.

    You can download the entire NSF report from the link below: Aquamantra NSF PET D5511 Test Results J-00091962 Final Report.pdf

     

     

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