To handle a five-fold increase in compostable plastic product certifications since 2006, global independent public health organization NSF International has been named the new administrator of the Biodegradable Products Institute’s (BPI) Certified Compostable program.

As a global leader in third-party, independent product testing and certification, NSF International brings to the BPI’s certification program more than 65 years experience, including national and international accreditations, world class laboratories and global operations that serve more than 10,000 certification customers in 100 countries worldwide.

NSF International will administer the BPI program through its NSF Sustainability division, which provides testing and verification of environmental claims for consumer products, green chemicals, sustainable furnishing and building materials such as carpet, flooring and fabrics. NSF also provides process verification services, which include greenhouse gas verification, environmental footprinting, and environmental management systems registrations.

NSF earned accreditation in 2010 to provide the testing portion of the BPI program. Now as the new administrator, NSF Sustainability will provide all aspects of the certification process from the initial application, product reviews, testing, and verifying compliance to the BPI program requirements. Actual licensing for use of the Compostable Logo will remain BPI’s responsibility.

The BPI developed the Certified Compostable program for plastics to apply science-based test methods developed by the American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM) to verify a material will compost in a municipal or commercial facility, leaving no toxic or lingering plastic. Product testing mimics what takes place in a typical municipal or commercial composting system.

To pass these ASTM tests, a product must: Disintegrate quickly leaving no visible residue that has to be screened out; biodegrade fully or convert rapidly to carbon dioxide, water and biomass; result in compost that can support plant growth; and not introduce high levels of regulated metals into the soil.

Certified compostable items range from compostable bags and foodservice items to packaging materials, widely distributed consumer products and even wax and shellac coatings. The BPI Compostable Logo identifies products that have been independently tested and verified to biodegrade and compost quickly, safely and completely in municipal and commercial composting operations.

“The BPI Compostable Logo is widely recognized by consumers, composters and municipal officials throughout North America as the preferred trademark to assure compostability in commercial facilities,” said Steven A. Mojo, BPI executive director. “As more consumer goods companies recognize the importance and value of composting, and the importance of responsible marketing claims about biodegradability and compostability, we anticipate even more growth in the years ahead. This new partnership with NSF will create a strong foundation to support this anticipated growth.”

“NSF’s expertise and recognition in both product certification and sustainability will increase the credibility of the BPI’s effort,” added Tom Bruursema, NSF International Sustainability General Manager. “NSF Sustainability’s participation will help to expand the Certified Compostable program and provide consumers, institutional, commercial and government purchasers even more access to compostable plastic products.”

The BPI awarded the first “Compostable Logo” in 2002 in an effort to distinguish compostable plastic applications from ones made of traditional non-degradable plastics. Since then, more than 230 products made by more than 130 global companies have earned BPI certification.