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ASTM D6400 refers to a standard specification for labeling of plastics designed to be aerobically composted in municipal or industrial facilities set by the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). It's titled "Standard Specification for Labeling of Plastics Designed to be Aerobically Composted in Municipal or Industrial Facilities."
When a product or material is ASTM D6400 certified, it means that it meets the criteria to be composted in municipal and industrial composting facilities, including disintegration and biodegradation within a specific timeframe, as well as not releasing harmful residues or reducing the value or utility of the compost. For example, our molded fiber takeout containers and tableware take about three months to decompose entirely in ideal industrial composting settings.
Key takeaways about ASTM D6400:
- Biodegradation: Plastics meeting this specification will break down to carbon dioxide, water, inorganic compounds, and biomass at a rate consistent with known compostable materials, like cellulose (e.g., wood or paper).
- Disintegration: When these plastics are placed in a composting environment, they will physically break down so that the original product isn't visually distinguishable in the compost.
- No Harmful Residues: The final composted material shouldn't contain any toxic residue that would negatively impact plants or the environment.
This standard doesn't imply that the material is suitable for home composting, as municipal and industrial facilities can typically maintain higher temperatures and have other conditions that may not be present in-home composting setups.
For manufacturers, getting products certified under ASTM D6400 is often a sign of environmental responsibility and commitment to sustainability. However, the infrastructure for composting varies by region, and not all facilities can handle compostable plastics. As such, it's essential to understand local composting capabilities and guidelines.