Canadian Plastics

BNQ launches new certification programs for compostable products

Canadian Plastics   

Canadian Plastics Recycling Sustainability

Certification by BNQ ensures that manufacturers' claims are verified by a third party.

The Bureau de normalisation du Québec (BNQ) has introduced two new certification programs for compostable products based on international standards.

These programs are based on the requirements of two international standards and they provide a framework for plastics or products made of plastic as well as other products such as cardboards or packaging that can be certified as “compostable”.

Compostable products are those capable of disintegrating and biodegrading under aerobic composting conditions, producing carbon dioxide, water, inorganic compounds, and biomass. These products decompose at a rate similar to food waste, leaving no visible, distinguishable, or environmentally toxic residues.

“The several uses of the terms ‘compostable’ and ‘biodegradable’ on packagings often are the results of self claims that are not verified by a third party; as a result, it definitely contributed to confuse consumers,” said Isabelle Landry, principal director at Bureau de normalisation du Québec. “When obtaining a certification by the BNQ, the manufacturers can declare that their products will be composted in appropriate industrial installations.”

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Among others, the international standards ISO 17088:2021 Plastics — Organic recycling — Specifications for compostable plastics, and ISO 18606:2013 Packaging and the environment — Organic recycling set out requirements to be met by the products developed by the manufacturers to be suitable for recovery through aerobic composting.

Certification by BNQ ensures that manufacturers’ claims are verified by a third party, aligning with Canadian compost quality standards and industrial composting processes.

“The time should be over when claims for compostability can be made without 3rd party verification,” said Susan Antler, executive director at The Compost Council of Canada. “And for those who are making compostable claims within the Canadian marketplace, these claims must directly tie in with the compost quality standards regulated by Canadian governments – both federal and provincial/territorial – and managed through the processing dynamics of industrial-scale composting facilities across Canada.”

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