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Certification of products suitable for composting

In the European Union, in order to confirm the suitability of packaging for organic recycling - composting, the EN 13432: 2000 norm harmonized with Directive 94/62 / EC. Due to the complexity of procedures related to the assessment of packaging material carried out in terms of biodegradation and subsequent use in the composting process, certification systems have been introduced. The most important is the certification of products (including packaging) carried out in Germany by DIN CERTCO (, a member of the German DIN Standardization Organization. The German certification system has been adopted in other European countries: Switzerland, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Poland. The certificate obtained in these countries entitles to mark with the sign of suitability for composting.

In Poland, the DIN CERTCO certificate for certification of products suitable for composting was obtained by COBRO's Packaging Certification Centre

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General principles of certification

The certification process for products made of materials suitable for composting consists of several stages. The first of these is the registration of materials, semi-products and additives useful for composting. This stage, which is solely within the competence of DIN CERTCO, is associated with the necessity to perform specialized research concerning, among others, chemical composition, suitability for composting in near-real conditions, infrared spectra. Such tests may only be carried out in laboratories approved by DIN CERTCO. After examination and acceptance of materials, intermediates or additives, they will be placed on the lists kept by DIN CERTCO.

Application for the certificate for a product made of materials suitable for composting should contain the application as well as the following documents:

  • Detailed drawing of the product, its description and applications;
  • A list of all materials, semi-finished products and additives used (whose share is> 1%) with the exact share of each component in the whole mass and the numbers on the DIN CERTCO lists;
  • For additives, whose share is <1% proof of suitability in the biological waste treatment process;
  • Infrared spectrum;
  • Product sample;
  • A list of all other substances used in the manufacture of the product and all substances that may end up in the waste with the product, e.g. leftovers (for each substance, proof of suitability in the biological treatment of waste);
  • Applicant's declaration stating that the information provided is complete and true.

If the application is processed successfully, a certificate valid for three years will be issued. Together with the certificate, the product receives a registration number. When issuing a certificate, the applicant is proposed to conclude a license agreement for the use of the mark. The granting of the right to use the mark depends on whether the applicant accepts the terms of the agreement as well as the rules governing the use of the mark.

Three control tests are carried out within the validity period of the certificate. The first control test is carried out after 12 months from the date of issuing the certificate. For this purpose, five samples of the certified product will be anonymously purchased by authorized agents of DIN CERTCO (or a designated testing laboratory). Within three years of the certificate's validity, two consecutive tests will be carried out at randomly selected dates (tests will be carried out in the same way as during product registration). The costs of testing, after their completion, will be charged to the licensee. As a rule, the control tests are carried out only by DIN CERTCO.

If during the three control tests carried out during the validity of the certificate no discrepancies are found, the certificate will be extended by DIN CERTCO for the next three years, provided that the product complies with the requirements of the certification procedure applied during certificate renewal.

The right to use the mark is granted on the basis of a license agreement between DIN CERTCO and the applicant. The applicant receives a certificate for each product that complies with the requirements of the certification procedure. The certificate contains the registration number of the product and information about the right to use the mark under a license agreement. The mark and registration number may only be used for the product to which the right has been granted.

The mark on the product should have the following form:

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A registration number and the word "compostable" in English or another language should be placed next to the logo. The mark can be used in advertising materials, sales documents and product information. The mark and registration number in such cases must be directly related to the product for which DIN CERTCO has granted a license to use the mark.

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