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Biodegradability Testing and Bioglitter®’s Independent Biodegradability Testing Results


Biodegradability Testing and Specific Bioglitter Testing.  

The specialised modified regenerated cellulose core film unique in Bioglitter® products represents equal to or more than 90% of its content and is certified both industrial compostable (EN13432, EN14995, ASTM D6400, ISO 17088) and home compostable (OK Compost Home), Waste Water biodegradation approved to ISO15986 and also marine biodegradation approved to ASTM D6691-09.  During the manufacture of Bioglitter® surface coatings are applied to this core film.  Irrespective of how little coating is applied and the materials used, testing Bioglitter® in its finished form to an appropriate test method or standard is required to make any justified claim on its true ability to biodegrade in the environment.

The table below provides a illustration of the various levels of biodegradability testing relevant to different environments, it’s quite a complex picture.   It was essential to us to test Bioglitter® in its finished form (ie with coatings) to a challenging yet relevant natural environment to a well established standard and test method.  Proving Bioglitter® biodegradability credentials  in a challenging environment indicates more favourable results in less challenging conditions.

Industrial composting EN13432 is the testing level most regularly referred to and most well known.  However it’s more relevant to packaging waste that can be separated and put in industrial compost recycling, not very practical for glitter.  Industrial composting is conducted in man made conditions c.60oC and high humidity. Whereas OK Compost Home, OK Soil, Waste Water, OK Water and marine testing are more representative of the biodegradability in the natural environment. There is a significantly higher probability for glitter to be found in general waste, waste water, fresh water and general outdoor environment after use. The route to industrial composting via the compost recycling bin is highly unlikely in reality.

Standards can change, ASTM D7081-05 marine standard was withdrawn in 2014 and more recently attention has been drawn to the applicability of industrial compostability standards (EN13432, ASTM 6400) as a measure of compostability in the natural environment as the limitations of this test method become better understood.

Note:  The term ‘composting’ is associated with manmade processes and ‘biodegradablty’ is associated with the natural environments.


Bioglitter®: Fresh Water Biodegradation Testing

Considering the above and following close consultation with our accredited testing partner OWS, Belgium, it was decided freshwater biodegradability testing to ISO 14851 was most appropriate.  The decision on this test method was based on the nature of our material (insoluble solid as opposed to a chemical) and the most probable end of life scenarios for Bioglitter®.  This biodegradation test determines the degree of aerobic biodegradability of the test samples by exposure to micro-organisms in a waterbased medium (under laboratory conditions) representative of the natural environment, such as rivers, streams or lakes.  During the aerobic biodegradation of biodegradable materials, oxygen is consumed and carbon is converted to carbon dioxide (CO2). The amount of biodegradation can be calculated from how much carbon converted to CO2.

Summary of Test Results

The test results as illustrated in the chart below demonstrate the vast majority of the biodegradable content of both Bioglitter® Sparkle and Bioglitter® Pure biodegrades in a fresh water environment in only 4 weeks.  It also proves that the coating applied in the manufacture of Bioglitter® does not compromise the performance characteristics of the Modified Regenerated Cellulose core to biodegrade as detailed above.

  • Bioglitter® Sparkle
    • After only 35 days Bioglitter® Sparkle Silver 008 (with clear coating) has biodegraded to a level of 87% (relative to the microcrystalline cellulose control), which represents the vast majority of the c.90% biodegradable content in Bioglitter Sparkle.
    • A level of 90% biodegradation within 56 days relative to the microcrystalline cellulose control meets the biodegradation criteria for OK biodegradable WATER certification, and our aim of reducing plastic content (and therefore increasing biodegradable content) in our Bioglitter® Sparkle will ultimately allow us to achieve this target.
  • Bioglitter® Pure
    • Bioglitter® Pure Red 008 passes the 90% (relative to cellulose control) criteria for the biodegradation requirement of OK biodegradable WATER after only 28 days.