BPI Certified products already on track to eliminatePFAS by end of 2019
New York, NY – DEC14, 2018 The Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI),North America’s leading certifier of compostable products and packaging, todayclarified that it has already put measures in place to restrict and theneliminate the use of fluorinated chemicals in the products and packaging itcertifies for compostability.
Due to growing concerns around fluorinated chemicals, often referred to asperfluorinated or polyfluorinated alkyl substance (PFAS) as a class ofchemicals, BPI engaged with composters, municipalities, and environmentalgroups, hiring an expert advisor in 2017 to develop a path forward. In November2017, the BPI membership and Board of Directors voted to approve a 100 partsper million (ppm) total fluorine limit in its certification to address theentire class of chemicals, followed by a statement of no intentionally addedfluorinated chemicals. BPI certified compostable products and packaging notmeeting the 100 ppm total fluorine requirement must be phased out of themarketplace by the end of 2019.
“For the 20 years that BPI has been certifying compostable products, theefficacy of our program has been driven by how well those products perform inthe compost environments they are accepted into,” said Rhodes Yepsen, ExecutiveDirector of BPI. “Once composters and municipalities began telling us theirconcerns about fluorinated chemicals in foodservice packaging, we participatedin studies and learned that
it persists during the composting process, and is likely bioavailable to fruitand vegetable crops grown in the finished compost, so we knew we had to beproactive and update our certification requirements.”
Flourinated chemicals like PFAS are used across a number of industries, and arean effective, FDA-approved “grease-proofing” barrier used on some paper andmolded pulp food packaging. Most BPI certified products already do not containfluorinated chemicals, instead achieving water and grease barrier through theuse of compostable biopolymers like PLA, PBAT, PBS, or PHA, as well ascompostable waxes.
BPI’s overarching goal is the scalable diversion of organic waste tocomposting by verifying that products and packaging will successfully breakdown in professionally managed composting facilities, without harming thequality of finished compost. The certification program is built on a thirdparty system of independent labs that test to ASTM standard specifications, anda robust technical review by an accredited body. The ASTM standards includemultiple requirements before a product can be claimed to be compostable,including biodegradation testing, disintegration testing, heavy metals limits,and plant toxicity testing. Currently BPI certifies products and packaging fromover 200 companies around the world, andmaintains a public database that iskeyword searchable for over 9,000 certified items.
“This new restriction on fluorinated chemicals in compostable packaging isthe first of its kind, and will be challenging for our staff and membercompanies selling compostable products, but it is clearly the right thing todo, and something we are all committed to,” said Yepsen. “Compostable productsand packaging
play a pivotal role in the zero-waste movement, and as more communities acrossthe Americas set up food waste collection programs, we are working to ensurethat BPI’s certification will continue to be a trusted benchmark forcompostability.