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White paper: Biodegradability explained

Biodegradability testing | Current constraints and future prospects

By Dara Robinson, Sustainability Analyst, Eurofins Sustainability Services

The demand for biodegradable products from consumers has become increasingly prevalent in recent years, correlating with a general drive towards sustainability and corporate social responsibility. With more people focusing on the end-of-life (EOL) cycle of their products, it has become imperative to have an accurate system in place not only to validate degradability claims, but to assess the toxicity of those degradation products and provide alternative solutions in cases where biodegradation isn’t favourable.

If a material cannot be recycled or reused, then it should be degradable and compostable to reduce waste and prevent the accumulation of harmful substances in our environment. This is where accurate and wide-ranging testing is required in order to assess the degradability, disintegration, and toxicological impact of materials. Various tests, as detailed in this white paper, measure different parameters associated with degradation to suit the needs of the client, the claim being validated, and the environment in which the material is likely to degrade.

This white paper explains biodegradability, biodegradability testing methodologies, current constraints and future prospects.

Biodegradability white paper highlights

Definitions and overviews

  • Biodegradation
  • Disintegration
  • Compostable

Current biodegradability and disintegration testing

  • Testing methodologies including advantages & disadvantages
  • Standards organisations

Current guidelines and regulations

  • EU and UK
  • China
  • US

Validating claims

Claims on biodegradability should be transparent, verifiable, and supported by relevant standards and testing methodologies. This biodegradability testing white paper discusses claim validation in line with current and forthcoming legislation to avoid greenwashing.

Future of biodegradability testing

While existing testing methods offer value, they have inherent limitations. These constraints are considered when discussing improvements to current tests, whether by modifying existing techniques or introducing new ones.

Eurofins biodegradability testing services

We offer a range of biodegradability testing and related services to help your consumer products be more sustainable and validate your green claims through metrics and measurements

Or contact us today to talk to one of our sustainability experts.

Download our white paper here

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