International standards for the protection of the environment


Our time in which we live is characterized not only by the rapid growth of the economy and the increase in the pace of production, but also, as a result of the previous points, we are faced with horrific amounts of environmental pollution. Most companies that produce different products every day cause great harm to our environment. Due to these negative factors, companies should pay enough attention to protecting the environment and increasing their level of social responsibility. A huge amount of attention is paid to the issues of proper disposal and recycling of raw materials, as well as the finished product. One of the most environmentally hazardous manufactured materials is plastic. Considering the possible harm to the environment from the production processes of this material, this market segment should be subject to strict regulation. The basis of responsible production is the reduction of environmental damage. In our article, we reviewed a selection of international standards that regulate the issue of biodegradability of plastic, as well as reducing the carbon footprint of manufacturing processes. If your company is engaged in the production of plastics, then it will be useful for you to familiarize yourself with the information provided in the following documents.

Plastics - Assessment of the intrinsic biodegradability of materials exposed to marine inocula under mesophilic aerobic laboratory conditions - Test methods and requirements

EN ISO 22403:2021

Companies that produce plastic, before starting production, must necessarily take care of ways to dispose of their products after the end of their useful life. One possible recycling option for the product is the production of biodegradable plastic in the marine environment. The requirements for such material are detailed in EN ISO 22403:2021.

This document specifies test methods and criteria for showing intrinsic biodegradability in marine environments of virgin plastic materials and polymers without any preliminary environmental exposure or pre-treatment.

Test methods applied in this document are carried out at temperatures in the mesophilic range under aerobic conditions and are aimed to show ultimate biodegradability, i.e. conversion into carbon dioxide, water and biomass.

This document neither assesses the constituents, such as regulated metals or substances hazardous to the environment, nor potential ecotoxic effects but intrinsic biodegradability only. These aspects will be considered in a separate standard covering the overall environmental impact of products intentionally or accidentally released in the marine environment.

This document does not cover the performance of products made from biodegradable plastic materials and biodegradable polymers. Lifetime and biodegradation rates in the sea of products made with biodegradable plastic materials are generally affected by the specific environmental conditions and by thickness and shape.

Although results might indicate that the tested plastic materials and polymers biodegrade under the specified test conditions at a certain rate, the results of any laboratory exposure cannot be directly extrapolated to marine environments at the actual site of use or leakage.
This document is not applicable for "marine biodegradable" claims of biodegradable plastic materials. For such purpose, see relevant product standards, if available.

The testing scheme specified in this document does not provide sufficient information for determining the specific biodegradation rate (i.e. the rate per available surface area) of the material under testing. For such purpose, see relevant standards about specific biodegradation rate, if available.

A feature of this international standard is that all the information that is in it is concentrated around the issue of biodegradability. The study of this document will be useful to companies that are engaged in the production of plastic. If you need additional advice, our specialists are always ready to provide you with this assistance.

Plastics - Carbon and environmental footprint of biobased plastics - Part 3: Process carbon footprint, requirements and guidelines for quantification

EN ISO 22526-3:2021

The production of plastic by large companies provokes the release of large volumes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. It is the responsibility of the manufacturer to control the size of the hydrocarbon footprint that his product leaves during manufacture and use. If your company is engaged in the production of plastic, then you need to know the criteria for evaluating this parameter of your product, which are described in the international standard EN ISO 22526-3:2021.

This document specifies requirements and guidelines for the quantification and reporting of the process carbon footprint of biobased plastics (see ISO 22526-1), being a partial carbon footprint of a bioplastic product, based on ISO 14067 and consistent with International Standards on life cycle assessment (ISO 14040 and ISO 14044).

This document is applicable to process carbon footprint studies (P-CFP) of plastic materials, being a partial carbon footprint of a product, whether or not the results are intended to be publicly available.
Requirements and guidelines for the quantification of a partial carbon footprint of a product (partial CFP) are provided in this document. The process carbon footprint study is carried out according to ISO 14067 as a partial carbon footprint, using the specific conditions and requirements specified in this document.
Where the results of a P-CFP study are reported according to this document, procedures are provided to support transparency and credibility, and also to allow for informed choices.
Offsetting is outside of the scope of this document. The international standard that we described above differs from the main documents in that it is a step-by-step instruction for the process of assessing the carbon footprint of a production process. It is one of the main documents that regulates the production of plastic. You can read the text of this document on our website, using the link attached below.

Plastics - Carbon and environmental footprint of biobased plastics - Part 1: General principles

EN ISO 22526-1:2021

The production of plastics often requires the use of bio-based or fossil-based components in its processes, which also leave a significant carbon footprint. This negative impact on the environment must be strictly controlled by the manufacturer. You can study the international requirements for the use of biological components in the EN ISO 22526-1:2021 standard.

This document specifies the general principles and the system boundaries for the carbon and environmental footprint of biobased plastic products. It is an introduction and a guidance document to the other parts of the ISO 22526 series.

This document is applicable to plastic products and plastic materials, polymer resins, which are based from biobased or fossil-based constituents.

The use of bio-based components in the manufacture is subject to strict regulations, which are described in this standard. These requirements are constantly updated to ensure the proper level of environmental protection. To understand in more detail the requirements described in this International Standard, you can follow the link attached below.

Plastics - Carbon and environmental footprint of biobased plastics - Part 2: Material carbon footprint, amount (mass) of CO2 removed from the air and incorporated into polymer molecule (ISO 22526-2:2020)

EN ISO 22526-2:2021

The production of plastic provokes the release of an additional amount of CO2 into the environment, which in turn leads to a deterioration in the environmental situation. Companies that manufacture plastics should be aware of the methods for quantifying these emissions, which are described in the international standard EN ISO 22526-2:2021.

This document defines the material carbon footprint as the amount (mass) of CO2 removed from the air and incorporated into plastic, and specifies a determination method to quantify it.
This document is applicable to plastic products, plastic materials and polymer resins that are partly or wholly based on biobased constituents.

Companies that produce plastics must regulate their activities in accordance with many international standards that are updated regularly. If you need advice on the regulation of your company, our experts are ready to help you.

Preservation of the environment is a social responsibility of companies

The worldwide trend of mindfulness is gaining more and more popularity, so companies that want to be leaders in their market segment should pay attention to it. Protecting the environment from the harmful effects of production should be one of the top priorities for companies. The carbon footprint that these companies leave behind must be measured and strictly regulated. Every year there are new international standards that are aimed at keeping the ecology of our planet in good condition, which will be safe for people. Carbon dioxide emissions significantly worsen the ecological situation in the world, in order to prevent them, it is necessary to look for alternative methods of production. The materials produced must be biodegradable and comply with international standards to reduce the negative impact. Every company must follow the rules of the carbon footprint they leave in order to reduce the burden on the environment. At the moment, there are a lot of international standards that relate to the regulation of plastic production. If your company operates in this market segment and you want to be leaders among your competitors, then we advise you to keep in mind the social responsibility of your business.