Sustainable Maritime Interiors - 2022 Report

94 It is important to check claims of compostability of materials and products. While everything that is compostable is biodegradable, not everything that is biodegradable is compostable.1 Biodegradable items will decompose but this may take a long time and create environmental problems in the process. Compotsable items must degrade in a specific timeframe and environment according to standards set by organisations such as the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM). For this reason, labelling products as ‘biodegradable’ can be regarded as misleading to consumers and is illegal in some US states. For a plastic to be considered compostable it must: • Biodegrade into carbon dioxide, water and biomass, with 90 per cent of the organic materials converted into CO2 within six months • Disintegrate so that after three months’ composting and subsequent sifting through a 2mm sieve, no more than 10 per cent residue remains • Meet eco-toxicity standards, such that biodegradation does not produce any toxic material and the compost can support plant growth.2 INTERNAT IONAL WI SDOM 1 Source: Biodegradable Product Institute, Certified Compostable 2 Source: British Plastics Federation, Polymer: Bio-based/Degradables