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WIST develops packaging compostability testing

The Wisconsin Institute for Sustainable Technology (WIST) has introduced a new service, which will help packaging manufacturers meet the growing demand for environmentally friendly materials.

WIST executive director Paul Fowler said the institute has developed a test that determines how well, under industrial composting conditions, packaging decomposes.

"It’s a new service targeted at the compostable packaging industry, to help them understand the compostability profile of their packaging," Fowler added.

WIST testing protocol determines whether materials meet ASTM D6400 or D6868 standards for compostability and includes three stages of disintegration trial, plant seed germination trial, and biodegradability trial.

The disintegration trial tests show how well the material will break down in a stable environment and the plant germination trial determines how well the material germinates seeds.

The material being tested is placed in a sealed vessel, and the amount of CO2 generated is recorded by instruments in a biodegradability trial.