The Japan BioPlastics Association (JBPA), formerly known as Biodegradable Plastics Society, has created the BiomassPla Identification and Labeling System to help consumers identify biomass-based plastics defined by the JBPA as “high-polymer” materials with a mean molecular weight of at least 1,000 that (a) can be obtained through chemical or biological synthesis from raw materials that contain substances derived from renewable organic resources, and (b) must contain biomass-derived components that can be measured using ASTM D6866. Biomass-based plastics exclude chemically unmodified non-thermoplastic natural organic high-polymer materials, according to the JBPA.
Biomass carbon measurement by ASTM D6866 is one of the testing methods required by the JBPA under its BiomassPla certification and labeling system. The ASTM D6866 version indicated in the JBPA document dated 2008 is ASTM D6866-05: Standard Test Methods for Determining the Biobased Content of Natural Range Materials Using Radiocarbon and Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry Analysis.
The ASTM D6866-05 has since been superseded by updated versions in 2006 and 2008. The current active standard as of August 2010 is ASTM D6866-10: Standard Test Methods for Determining the Biobased Content of Solid, Liquid, and Gaseous Samples Using Radiocarbon Analysis.
The BiomassPla system, which started in July 2006, certifies products that conform to standards set by the JBPA. One of the standards requires the product to have a biomass-based plastic ratio of 25%. The JBPA defines biomass-based plastic ratio as the proportion of the total weight consisting of components derived from biomass in the composition of the biomass-based plastic contained in the raw material and product (percentage by weight).
Other standards under the BiomassPla system consider biodegradability, oral acute toxicity, and environmental safety, among others. Substances in the JBPA’s “Negative List” must not be used as raw materials in the manufacture of biomass-based plastic products.
A list of registered BiomassPla products are published on the JBPA Web site. These registered products carry a logo with a three-year validity period. The BiomassPla logo can still be used even when not all parts of the product comply with the JBPA’s standards. The parts that comply with the BiomassPla standards, however, should be easy to identify and physically separate from the non-qualified parts (e.g. container, packaging label), and it must be clearly indicated on the product to which part the logo is applicable.
Application for product accreditation and approval for BiomassPla logo use is limited to members of the JBPA. Resignation from the JBPA terminates the use of the BiomassPla logo.
Source: Japan BioPlastics Association
Under the BiomassPla system, the radiocarbon measurements done via ASTM D6866 must be performed by one of their approved laboratories. Beta Analytic, Inc., accredited by the JBPA, fulfills the radiocarbon dating needs of clients applying for the JBPA’s BiomassPla system through its agent, Chikyu Kagaku Kenkyusho in Nagoya City, Japan. Based in Miami, Florida, ISO 70125-accredited and ISO 9001-conformant Beta Analytic has provided ASTM D6866 testing for many years.