BIODEGRADABILITY TESTING FOR PLASTICS, DETERGENTS AND COSMETICS
Selecting the most appropriate test method for demonstrating a finished product’s biodegradability can be critical for material suppliers and manufacturers.
Biodegradation product testing, when intended for product claims related to biodegradability, should incorporate several factors of the product’s actual performance.
Biodegradation tests are used to determine the biodegradability of products in a given or intended use environment. Biodegradation testing for plastics is typically run in conditions approximating commercial composting; biodegradation tests for liquids are run in representative aquatic systems.
How Biodegradation Testing Works
Biodegradability testing measures the complex biochemical process that occurs when microorganisms consume a given type of material.
Although complicated, the test results measure relatively simple markers of the biodegradation process.
A product’s ability to biodegrade depends on the amount of carbon available for microbial consumption.
At present, regulations require biodegradability claims to be based on Aerobic Biodegradation, which typically measures oxygen consumption, CO2 production and the state of inorganic carbon intermediates.