In New Zealand much single-use compostable food packaging ends up in landfills rather than being composted. The composting industry has concerns about the extent to which compostable packaging can degrade in the timeframe required, in the range of composting environments used throughout New Zealand. 

 A practical study led by Scion aims to determine for both industrial and home composters whether materials certified as compostable will degrade within the time frame set by the standards in the New Zealand context.  

The study is investigating the degradation of different materials in industrial and home composting systems. It is designed to determine whether packaging certified as compostable according to European Standard EN 13432 will break down in New Zealand composting facilities within the required period and without detriment to the final compost product. 

Due to be completed in May 2021, the study is funded by the Ministry for the Environment’s Waste Minimisation Fund with additional funding from Convex. 

Members of WasteMINZ Organic Materials Sector Group are closely involved in this project. “The sector is keen to find out whether EN 13432 is an accurate predictor of disintegration across the range of compostable materials which are coming onto the market, or whether sites will need to continue to run material-specific trials to determine whether they can be accepted at their facility,” says Chris Purchas, Chair of the Organic Materials Steering Committee.

 If your composting facility would like to take part in the trial, please email [email protected]