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Bioglitter – Biodegradable in the Natural Environment




Biodegradability Testing and Specific Bioglitter Testing.


The table below provides an 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, wastewater, 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Standards can change, ASTM D7081-05 marine standard was withdrawn in 2014 and more recently attention has been drawn to the applicability of industrial compostability standards (EN13432, ASTM 6400) as a measure of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 ‘biodegradability’ 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 water-based 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 freshwater 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.

    • 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 proves that the vast majority of the biodegradable content in Bioglitter Sparkle does biodegrade in the natural environment.
    • A level of >90% biodegradation within 56 days relative to the microcrystalline cellulose control is required to meet the criteria for OK biodegradable WATER certification.  Our aim of reducing/removing the plastic content in the coatings used in our Bioglitter® Sparkle will ultimately allow us to achieve this target.
    • Bioglitter® Pure Red 008 achieved >90% biodegradation, relative to cellulose control, and therefore meets the criteria for OK biodegradable WATER certification after only 28 days.