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06 | 2008

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Basics The major

Basics The major differences between an industrial composting centre and home composting are: • Temperature: increases in temperature occur naturally and depend on the quantity and frequency with which fresh material is supplied. In a home composter, high temperatures over an extended period of time cannot be guaranteed because supplies of fresh material are limited and the equipment is generally not insulated, unlike industrial composting centres which enjoy the benefits of large quantities of material and suitable insulation levels; • Completion Period: Because industrial composting is an |industrial| activity, production completion period is an important parameter, whereas private composters aim to meet their own needs on a seasonal basis. OK Compost HOME: Another Approach to Composting Home composting is becoming a very popular activity in certain parts of Europe. Whether composting garden or kitchen waste, the ultimate goal could be to use the resulting compost to improve one’s land or simply to reduce the amount of waste that is removed by waste collection companies to be incinerated. The EN 13432 standard defines the requirements related to compostability in industrial composting centres. As a reminder, these requirements can be summed up as follows: • biodegradation • disintegration • the quality of the resulting compost (non-ecotoxicity and limited heavy metal content) However, no international standards defining requirements for home compostability have been established (as of yet). It is for this reason that in 2003, Vinçotte developed appropriate technical specifications and the OK Compost HOME conformity mark. These two factors have been adapted in the course of developing the specifications for OK Compost HOME: • The biodegradation and disintegration test temperatures have been lowered to 25°C ± 5. This temperature range is the result of different measures in situ. • Production period to obtain levels of 90% disintegration and biodegradation is twice as long in relation to requirements for the EN 13432 standard The other requirements (heavy metals and ecotoxicity) are identical to those in effect for industrial composting. The OK Compost HOME concept is innovative, consistent and socially responsible. It also solves the problems associated with requirements for selective collection. In 5 years, approximately 20 companies have obtained certification for their products, mainly in the fields of bag manufacturing and the packaging of fresh products. The most representative applicable example is that of prepackaged fruits and vegetables. In the kitchen, OK Compost HOME packaging can be used to collect peelings and afterwards both waste and packaging can be placed in the garden compost. Everyone agrees that the ideal form of packaging (from a disposal point of view) is no packaging at all. OK Compost HOME certified packaging approaches this ideal, because it neither needs to be collected, nor treated, at the expense of the community. okcompost@vincotte.be Article contributed by Philippe Dewolfs Manager, Product Certification Department, Vincotte, Vilvoorde, Belgium 38 bioplastics MAGAZINE [06/08] Vol. 3

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