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The Sustainable Biomaterials Collaborative has released purchasing specifications for consumers who want to buy environment-friendly, biobased food service ware. The specifications entitled “BioSpecs for Food Service Ware: Environmentally Preferable Purchasing Specifications for Compostable Biobased Food Service Ware” require ASTM D6866 testing to determine the organic carbon content of products.
Through BioSpecs, the SBC aims to provide buyers a framework by which they can assess the sustainability of compostable biobased food service ware in all stages of the product’s life cycle – from production to waste disposal (end of product life). By achieving selected criteria in each stage of the cycle, manufacturers can claim recognition for their products at the Bronze, Silver and Gold levels, with Gold as the highest level of performance. The three-tiered rating system was developed by the SBC together with the Business-NGO Working Group for Safer Chemicals and Sustainable Materials.
One of the criteria that must be met to gain a Bronze rating is for the product to contain at least 90% organic carbon, unless it is a cutlery item, which would need at least 70% carbon content. To get a higher rating, a product must be 95% biobased. ASTM D6866 certification is required as proof of biobased content. According to BioSpecs, “documentation must provide the radiocarbon data and explicitly reference ASTM D6866.”
BioSpecs used data from an extensive market survey conducted in 2008 that was participated by 22 compostable food service ware manufacturers. The BioSpecs for Food Service Ware can be downloaded here.