Plastics — Organic recycling — Specifications for compostable plastics

This document specifies procedures and requirements for plastics, and products made from plastics, that are suitable for recovery through organic recycling. The four following aspects are addressed: a) disintegration during composting; b) ultimate aerobic biodegradation; c) no adverse effects of compost on terrestrial organisms; d) control of constituents. These four aspects are suitable to assess the effects on the industrial composting process. This document is intended to be used as the basis for systems of labelling and claims for compostable plastics materials and products. This document does not provide information on requirements for the biodegradability of plastics which end up in the environment as litter. It is also not applicable to biological treatment undertaken in small installations by householders. NOTE 1 The recovery of compostable plastics through composting can be carried out under the conditions found in well-managed industrial composting processes, where the temperature, water content, aerobic conditions, carbon/nitrogen ratio and processing conditions are optimized. Such conditions are generally obtained in industrial and municipal composting plants. Under these conditions, compostable plastics disintegrate and biodegrade at rates comparable to yard trimmings, kraft paper bags and food scraps. NOTE 2 “Compostable” or “compostable in municipal and industrial composting facilities” are expressions considered to be equivalent to organically recyclable for the purposes of this document.

Plastiques — Recyclage organique — Spécifications pour les plastiques compostables

General Information

Status
Published
Publication Date
25-Apr-2021
Current Stage
6060 - International Standard published
Start Date
26-Apr-2021
Completion Date
26-Apr-2021
Ref Project

RELATIONS

Buy Standard

Standard
ISO 17088:2021 - Plastics -- Organic recycling -- Specifications for compostable plastics
English language
23 pages
sale 15% off
Preview
sale 15% off
Preview
Draft
ISO/FDIS 17088:Version 22-jan-2021 - Plastics -- Organic recycling -- Specifications for compostable plastics
English language
23 pages
sale 15% off
Preview
sale 15% off
Preview

Standards Content (sample)

INTERNATIONAL ISO
STANDARD 17088
Third edition
2021-04
Plastics — Organic recycling —
Specifications for compostable
plastics
Plastiques — Recyclage organique — Spécifications pour les
plastiques compostables
Reference number
ISO 17088:2021(E)
ISO 2021
---------------------- Page: 1 ----------------------
ISO 17088:2021(E)
COPYRIGHT PROTECTED DOCUMENT
© ISO 2021

All rights reserved. Unless otherwise specified, or required in the context of its implementation, no part of this publication may

be reproduced or utilized otherwise in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, or posting

on the internet or an intranet, without prior written permission. Permission can be requested from either ISO at the address

below or ISO’s member body in the country of the requester.
ISO copyright office
CP 401 • Ch. de Blandonnet 8
CH-1214 Vernier, Geneva
Phone: +41 22 749 01 11
Email: copyright@iso.org
Website: www.iso.org
Published in Switzerland
ii © ISO 2021 – All rights reserved
---------------------- Page: 2 ----------------------
ISO 17088:2021(E)
Contents Page

Foreword ........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................iv

Introduction ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................vi

1 Scope ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. 1

2 Normative references ...................................................................................................................................................................................... 1

3 Terms and definitions ..................................................................................................................................................................................... 2

4 General ............................................................................................................................................................................................................................ 4

5 Basic requirements ............................................................................................................................................................................................ 4

5.1 General ........................................................................................................................................................................................................... 4

5.2 Disintegration during composting ......................................................................................................................................... 4

5.3 Ultimate aerobic biodegradability ......................................................................................................................................... 4

5.4 No adverse effect of compost on terrestrial organisms ....................................................................................... 4

5.5 Control of constituents ..................................................................................................................................................................... 5

6 Detailed requirements ................................................................................................................................................................................... 5

6.1 General ........................................................................................................................................................................................................... 5

6.2 Disintegration during composting ......................................................................................................................................... 5

6.2.1 General...................................................................................................................................................................................... 5

6.2.2 Variation in permitted thickness ....................................................................................................................... 6

6.3 Ultimate biodegradation ................................................................................................................................................................. 6

6.3.1 Aerobic biodegradation ............................................................................................................................................. 6

6.3.2 Potential for biogas production .......................................................................................................................... 7

6.4 No adverse effects of compost on terrestrial organisms .................................................................................... 8

6.4.1 General...................................................................................................................................................................................... 8

6.4.2 Ecotoxicity test scheme .............................................................................................................................................. 8

6.4.3 Plant growth test (mandatory) ............................................................................................................................ 8

6.4.4 Acute earthworm toxicity test (mandatory) ............................................................................................ 9

6.4.5 Chronic earthworm toxicity test (mandatory) ....................................................................................... 9

6.4.6 Nitrification inhibition test with soil microorganisms (optional) ........................................ 9

6.5 Control of constituents ..................................................................................................................................................................... 9

6.5.1 General...................................................................................................................................................................................... 9

6.5.2 Regulated metals and other elements ........................................................................................................... 9

6.5.3 Per- and poly-fluorinated compounds (PFCs) .....................................................................................10

6.5.4 Other hazardous substances ..............................................................................................................................10

6.5.5 Volatile solids ...................................................................................................................................................................10

7 Declaration of results ...................................................................................................................................................................................10

8 Test report ................................................................................................................................................................................................................10

Annex A (informative) Examples of maximum concentrations of regulated metals and other

elements .....................................................................................................................................................................................................................12

Annex B (normative) Detection of per- and poly-fluorinated compounds and maximum

concentrations of other hazardous substances .................................................................................................................13

Annex C (normative) Determination of ecotoxic effects on higher plants .................................................................14

Annex D (normative) Determination of acute ecotoxic effects to earthworm .......................................................16

Annex E (normative) Determination of chronic ecotoxic effects to earthworm ..................................................18

Annex F (informative) Determination of nitrification activity of soil microorganisms ...............................20

Bibliography .............................................................................................................................................................................................................................22

© ISO 2021 – All rights reserved iii
---------------------- Page: 3 ----------------------
ISO 17088:2021(E)
Foreword

ISO (the International Organization for Standardization) is a worldwide federation of national standards

bodies (ISO member bodies). The work of preparing International Standards is normally carried out

through ISO technical committees. Each member body interested in a subject for which a technical

committee has been established has the right to be represented on that committee. International

organizations, governmental and non-governmental, in liaison with ISO, also take part in the work.

ISO collaborates closely with the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) on all matters of

electrotechnical standardization.

The procedures used to develop this document and those intended for its further maintenance are

described in the ISO/IEC Directives, Part 1. In particular, the different approval criteria needed for the

different types of ISO documents should be noted. This document was drafted in accordance with the

editorial rules of the ISO/IEC Directives, Part 2 (see www .iso .org/ directives).

Attention is drawn to the possibility that some of the elements of this document may be the subject of

patent rights. ISO shall not be held responsible for identifying any or all such patent rights. Details of

any patent rights identified during the development of the document will be in the Introduction and/or

on the ISO list of patent declarations received (see www .iso .org/ patents).

Any trade name used in this document is information given for the convenience of users and does not

constitute an endorsement.

For an explanation of the voluntary nature of standards, the meaning of ISO specific terms and

expressions related to conformity assessment, as well as information about ISO's adherence to the

World Trade Organization (WTO) principles in the Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT), see www .iso .org/

iso/ foreword .html.

This document was prepared by Technical Committee ISO/TC 61, Plastics, Subcommittee SC 14,

Environmental aspects.

This third edition cancels and replaces the second edition (ISO 17088:2012), which has been technically

revised.
The main changes compared to the previous edition are as follows:
— in Clause 3:

— the following terms have been added: organic recycling, anaerobic digestion, per- and poly-

fluorinated compound, well-managed industrial composting process, industrial composting,

organic constituents, home composting;
— the term catalyst has been deleted;
— 6.1.4 has been deleted;
— a new subclause, 6.2.2, on variation in permitted thickness has been added;

— in 6.3, requirements regarding biodegradability of constituents have been revised;

— in 6.3.1.1, the following references have been added as additional laboratory test methods for

biodegradation testing: ISO 14851, ISO 14852, ISO 17556;
— a new subclause, 6.3.2, on potential for biogas production has been added;

— 6.4 has been extended covering ecotoxicity tests with representative species from three trophic

levels;

— in 6.5, new requirements regarding control of constituents with respect to per- and poly-fluorinated

compounds (PFCs) and hazardous substances (as specified in Annex B) have been included;

— the list of regulated metals in EU + EFTA countries has been revised;
iv © ISO 2021 – All rights reserved
---------------------- Page: 4 ----------------------
ISO 17088:2021(E)
— new annexes, Annex B, Annex C, Annex E and Annex F, have been added.

Any feedback or questions on this document should be directed to the user’s national standards body. A

complete listing of these bodies can be found at www .iso .org/ members .html.
© ISO 2021 – All rights reserved v
---------------------- Page: 5 ----------------------
ISO 17088:2021(E)
Introduction

Management of solid wastes is a problem of growing interest around the world. Cities, towns and

countries are attempting to divert more materials from disposal (landfills and incineration without

energy recovery) by performing different recovery options in order to transform waste into usable

products. Plastics recovery technologies include material recovery (mechanical recycling, chemical

or feedstock recycling, and biological or organic recycling) and the recovery of energy in the form of

usable heat under controlled combustion conditions.

This document intends to correctly identify compostable plastics, and compostable products made

from plastics, which can be recovered by organic recycling, i.e. will disintegrate and biodegrade

satisfactorily together with biowaste producing compost as an outcome, in composting or in anaerobic

digestion followed by composting, and will not leave any persistent or hazardous residues.

vi © ISO 2021 – All rights reserved
---------------------- Page: 6 ----------------------
INTERNATIONAL STANDARD ISO 17088:2021(E)
Plastics — Organic recycling — Specifications for
compostable plastics

WARNING — Sewage, activated sludge, soil and compost might contain potentially pathogenic

organisms. Therefore, appropriate precautions should be taken when handling them. Toxic test,

compounds and those whose properties are unknown should be handled with care.
1 Scope

This document specifies procedures and requirements for plastics, and products made from plastics,

that are suitable for recovery through organic recycling. The four following aspects are addressed:

a) disintegration during composting;
b) ultimate aerobic biodegradation;
c) no adverse effects of compost on terrestrial organisms;
d) control of constituents.

These four aspects are suitable to assess the effects on the industrial composting process.

This document is intended to be used as the basis for systems of labelling and claims for compostable

plastics materials and products.

This document does not provide information on requirements for the biodegradability of plastics which

end up in the environment as litter. It is also not applicable to biological treatment undertaken in small

installations by householders.

NOTE 1 The recovery of compostable plastics through composting can be carried out under the conditions

found in well-managed industrial composting processes, where the temperature, water content, aerobic

conditions, carbon/nitrogen ratio and processing conditions are optimized. Such conditions are generally

obtained in industrial and municipal composting plants. Under these conditions, compostable plastics

disintegrate and biodegrade at rates comparable to yard trimmings, kraft paper bags and food scraps.

NOTE 2 “Compostable” or “compostable in municipal and industrial composting facilities” are expressions

considered to be equivalent to organically recyclable for the purposes of this document.

2 Normative references

The following documents are referred to in the text in such a way that some or all of their content

constitutes requirements of this document. For dated references, only the edition cited applies. For

undated references, the latest edition of the referenced document (including any amendments) applies.

ISO 472, Plastics — Vocabulary

ISO 11268-1, Soil quality — Effects of pollutants on earthworms — Part 1: Determination of acute toxicity

to Eisenia fetida/Eisenia andrei

ISO 11268-2, Soil quality — Effects of pollutants on earthworms — Part 2: Determination of effects on

reproduction of Eisenia fetida/Eisenia andrei

ISO 11269-2, Soil quality — Determination of the effects of pollutants on soil flora — Part 2: Effects of

contaminated soil on the emergence and early growth of higher plants

ISO 14851, Determination of the ultimate aerobic biodegradability of plastic materials in an aqueous

medium — Method by measuring the oxygen demand in a closed respirometer
© ISO 2021 – All rights reserved 1
---------------------- Page: 7 ----------------------
ISO 17088:2021(E)

ISO 14852, Determination of the ultimate aerobic biodegradability of plastic materials in an aqueous

medium — Method by analysis of evolved carbon dioxide

ISO 14855-1, Determination of the ultimate aerobic biodegradability of plastic materials under controlled

composting conditions — Method by analysis of evolved carbon dioxide — Part 1: General method

ISO 14855-2, Determination of the ultimate aerobic biodegradability of plastic materials under controlled

composting conditions — Method by analysis of evolved carbon dioxide — Part 2: Gravimetric measurement

of carbon dioxide evolved in a laboratory-scale test

ISO 15685, Soil quality — Determination of  potential nitrification and inhibition of nitrification — Rapid

test by ammonium oxidation

ISO 16929, Plastics — Determination of the degree of disintegration of plastic materials under defined

composting conditions in a pilot-scale test

ISO 17556, Plastics — Determination of the ultimate aerobic biodegradability of plastic materials in soil by

measuring the oxygen demand in a respirometer or the amount of carbon dioxide evolved

EN 14582, Characterization of waste — Halogen and sulfur content — Oxygen combustion in closed

systems and determination methods

OECD (2006), Test No. 208: Terrestrial Plant Test: Seedling Emergence and Seedling Growth Test, OECD

Guidelines for the Testing of Chemicals, Section 2, OECD Publishing, Paris,
3 Terms and definitions

For the purposes of this document, the terms and definitions given in ISO 472 and the following apply.

ISO and IEC maintain terminological databases for use in standardization at the following addresses:

— ISO Online browsing platform: available at https:// www .iso .org/ obp
— IEC Electropedia: available at http:// www .electropedia .org/
3.1
compost

organic soil conditioner obtained by biodegradation of a mixture consisting principally of vegetable

residues, occasionally with other organic material and having a limited mineral content

[SOURCE: ISO 472:2013, 2.1735]
3.2
compostable plastic

plastic that undergoes degradation by biological processes during composting to yield CO , water,

inorganic compounds and biomass at a rate consistent with other known compostable materials and

leave no visible, distinguishable or toxic residue
Note 1 to entry: "Hazardous" is used synonymously to "toxic".
3.3
composting
aerobic process designed to produce compost starting from biodegradable waste

Note 1 to entry: Composting is classified into industrial composting, home composting and worm composting.

3.4
disintegration
physical breakdown of a material into very small fragments
2 © ISO 2021 – All rights reserved
---------------------- Page: 8 ----------------------
ISO 17088:2021(E)
3.5
filler

relatively inert solid material added to a plastic to modify its strength, permanence, working properties

or other qualities, or to lower costs
3.6
organic recycling

aerobic (composting) or anaerobic (digestion) treatment of plastics waste under controlled conditions

using micro-organisms to produce, in the presence of oxygen, stabilized organic residues (compost),

carbon dioxide and water or, in the absence of oxygen, stabilized organic residues (compost), methane

and carbon dioxide
Note 1 to entry: The term “biological recycling” is used synonymously.

[SOURCE: ISO 15270:2008, 3.5, modified — "biodegradable" has been omitted and "(compost)" has been

added.]
3.7
total dry solids

amount of solids obtained by taking a known volume of test material or compost and drying at about

105 °C to constant mass
3.8
ultimate aerobic biodegradation

breakdown of an organic compound by microorganisms in the presence of oxygen into carbon dioxide,

water and mineral salts of any other elements present (mineralization) plus new biomass

3.9
volatile solid

solids obtained by subtracting the residue of a known volume of test material or compost after

incineration at about 550 °C from the total dry solids (3.7) of the same sample

Note 1 to entry: The volatile-solids content is an indication of the amount of organic matter present.

3.10
anaerobic digestion

process of controlled decomposition of biodegradable materials under managed conditions where free

oxygen is absent, at temperatures suitable for naturally occurring mesophilic or thermophilic anaerobic

and facultative bacteria species, that convert the inputs to a methane rich biogas and digestate

Note 1 to entry: In a second phase, the digestate is typically stabilised by means of a composting (aerobic) process.

3.11
per- and poly-fluorinated compound
PFC

organofluorine compound containing only carbon-fluorine bonds and carbon-carbon bonds but also

other heteroatoms
3.12
well-managed industrial composting process

composting process performed under controlled conditions where the temperature, water content,

aerobic conditions, carbon/ nitrogen ratio and other conditions are optimized
3.13
industrial composting

composting process performed under controlled conditions on industrial scale with the aim of

producing compost for the market

Note 1 to entry: In some regions industrial composting is referred to as professional composting.

© ISO 2021 – All rights reserved 3
---------------------- Page: 9 ----------------------
ISO 17088:2021(E)
3.14
organic constituent

chemical constituent that contains carbon covalently linked to other carbon atoms and to other

elements, most commonly hydrogen, oxygen or nitrogen

Note 1 to entry: Inorganic carbonates, carbides, cyanides and simple oxides such as carbon monoxide and carbon

dioxide are not considered as organic constituent.

Note 2 to entry: Allotropes of carbon, such as diamond, graphite, carbon black, fullerenes, and carbon nanotubes

are also not considered as organic constituent.
3.15
home composting

practice performed by a private individual with the aim of producing compost for his own use

4 General

4.1 The purpose of this document is to establish requirements for plastics materials and plastics

products that can be recovered by means of organic recycling in well-managed industrial composting

facilities where the typical conditions of composting can be consistently obtained (i.e. a long thermophilic

phase, aerobic conditions, sufficient water content, a suitable carbon/nitrogen ratio, etc.).

4.2 The following characteristics are determined:
a) the ultimate level of aerobic biodegradation of the test material;
b) the degree of disintegration obtained;
c) any negative effects on the finished compost;

d) the maximum concentration of regulated metals and other elements and per- and poly-fluorinated

compounds (PFCs) (determined as fluorine) in the test material.

In addition, the use of other hazardous substances as specified in Annex B in the test material is

assessed.
5 Basic requirements
5.1 General

In order to comply with this document, plastics products and materials shall demonstrate each of the

characteristics found in 5.2 to 5.5, as quantified in Clause 6.
5.2 Disintegration during composting

The plastics product or material shall disintegrate during composting as quantified in 6.2.

5.3 Ultimate aerobic biodegradability

The ultimate level of aerobic biodegradation shall be established by testing under controlled conditions

as quantified in 6.3.
5.4 No adverse effect of compost on terrestrial organisms

The composting of plastics products or materials shall have no adverse effects on terrestrial organisms

as quantified in 6.4.
4 © ISO 2021 – All rights reserved
---------------------- Page: 10 ----------------------
ISO 17088:2021(E)

Ecotoxic effects on terrestrial organisms shall be determined by comparing compost produced with

and without the addition of a plastics product or a material.
5.5 Control of constituents

The plastics product or material under investigation shall be identified and characterized prior to

testing including:
— determination of the presence of regulated metals and other elements;

— determination of the presence per- and poly-fluorinated compounds (PFCs) (determined as fluorine);

— evaluation of the presence of other hazardous substances as specified in Annex B;

— determination of volatile solids;
as quantified in 6.5, taking legal compliance into consideration.
6 Detailed requirements
6.1 General

6.1.1 In order to be identified as compostable, products and materials shall meet the requirements

of 6.2, 6.3, 6.4 and 6.5, using appropriate laboratory tests representative of the conditions found in

industrial composting facilities.

6.1.2 Test samples shall not be subjected to conditions or procedures designed to accelerate

disintegration or biodegradation prior to testing as described in 6.2 or 6.3.

6.1.3 If the products or materials under test include inorganic fillers, the fillers shall be present when

the products or materials are tested as described in 6.2, 6.3, 6.4, 6.5.2 and 6.5.3. However, their inorganic

carbon content shall be excluded from the mineralization calculations in 6.3. Products or materials

to which fillers are subsequently added, or in which the filler content is changed, shall be retested to

demonstrate that the new material meets the requirements of 6.2, 6.3, 6.4, 6.5.2 and 6.5.3. Manufacturers

may establish an acceptable range by testing the highest and the lowest concentrations. In addition,

fillers shall be identified and assessed according to 6.5.4 with respect to potential hazardous properties

as defined in Annex B. Examples of inorganic fillers include (but are not limited to) calcium carbonate

and titanium dioxide.

An exception shall be made for materials containing calcium carbonate or other carbonates as a filler.

For biodegradation, these materials should be tested without the carbonate filler as this might disturb

an exact measurement. For chemical analyses, disintegration and toxicity the material should however

be tested with the carbonate filler included.
6.2 Disintegration during composting
6.2.1 General

When testing finished articles and products, testing shall be conducted starting with the articles and

products in the same form as they are intended to be used. For products and materials that are made in

several different thicknesses or densities, such as films, containers and foams, only the thickest or most

dense products and materials need to be tested as long as the chemical composition and structure of

the respective articles and products remain the same.

NOTE 1 In general, for practical reasons, samples of the plastic material are tested in order to define the

maximum thickness allowing disintegration. Finished articles and products are then manufactured with

thicknesses below the maximum thickness.
© ISO 2021 – All rights reserved 5
---------------------- Page: 11 ----------------------
ISO 17088:2021(E)

A plastics product is considered to have demonstrated satisfactory disintegration if, after 84 days in a

controlled composting test, it is completely disintegrated into less than 2 mm fragments. This is proven

if no more than 10 % of its original dry mass remains after sieving through a 2,0 mm sieve.

NOTE 2 The 90 % threshold is the result of complete disintegration (100 %) minus 10 % tolerance. A 10 %

tolerance is applied in order to take into consideration the variability occurring in biological processes.

The test shall be carried out in accordance with ISO 16929.

Alternatively, the lab-scale test in accordance with ISO 20200 can be used. The initial test item

concentration shall be 1 % (wet mass) in each of these tests following the procedure given in ISO 16929.

In case of differing results, ISO 16929 results shall prevail.

Special attention should be given to the visual aspects of compost. Visual contamination of compost

as evidenced by reduction of aesthetic acceptability should not be significantly increased by any post

composting residues of the introduced plastics product or material. Therefore, any residue shall be

indistinguishable to the naked eye from the other matter in the compost at a distance of 500 mm. The

visible assessment of the compost shall be documented by means of photography.
6.2.2 Variation in permitted thickness

In some cases, specific composting technologies require early sieving and fast disintegration. In this

case, the following rule shall apply in order to identify the maximum thickness.

If disintegration is achieved for the maximum thickness (X) in 12 weeks, it shall be deemed given that

a thickness of X x 0,45 will achieve sufficient disintegration within 42 days. Alternative declarative

statements are not permitted.
6.3 Ultimate biodegradation
6.3.1 Aerobic biodegradation
6.3.1.1 Laboratory test methods

Only biodegradation tests that provide unequivocal information on the intrinsic and ultimate

biodegradability of the material or its significant organic constituents shall be used. The test under

conditions of controlled aerobic composting in accordance with ISO 14855-1 and ISO 14855-2 shall be

applied preferentially unless inappropriate to the type and properties of the material under test (e.g.

in the case of prin
...

FINAL
INTERNATIONAL ISO/FDIS
DRAFT
STANDARD 17088
ISO/TC 61/SC 14
Plastics — Organic recycling —
Secretariat: DIN
Specifications for compostable
Voting begins on:
2021­01­28 plastics
Voting terminates on:
Plastiques — Recyclage organique — Spécifications pour les
2021­03­25
plastiques compostables
RECIPIENTS OF THIS DRAFT ARE INVITED TO
SUBMIT, WITH THEIR COMMENTS, NOTIFICATION
OF ANY RELEVANT PATENT RIGHTS OF WHICH
THEY ARE AWARE AND TO PROVIDE SUPPOR TING
DOCUMENTATION.
IN ADDITION TO THEIR EVALUATION AS
Reference number
BEING ACCEPTABLE FOR INDUSTRIAL, TECHNO­
ISO/FDIS 17088:2021(E)
LOGICAL, COMMERCIAL AND USER PURPOSES,
DRAFT INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS MAY ON
OCCASION HAVE TO BE CONSIDERED IN THE
LIGHT OF THEIR POTENTIAL TO BECOME STAN­
DARDS TO WHICH REFERENCE MAY BE MADE IN
NATIONAL REGULATIONS. ISO 2021
---------------------- Page: 1 ----------------------
ISO/FDIS 17088:2021(E)
COPYRIGHT PROTECTED DOCUMENT
© ISO 2021

All rights reserved. Unless otherwise specified, or required in the context of its implementation, no part of this publication may

be reproduced or utilized otherwise in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, or posting

on the internet or an intranet, without prior written permission. Permission can be requested from either ISO at the address

below or ISO’s member body in the country of the requester.
ISO copyright office
CP 401 • Ch. de Blandonnet 8
CH­1214 Vernier, Geneva
Phone: +41 22 749 01 11
Email: copyright@iso.org
Website: www.iso.org
Published in Switzerland
ii © ISO 2021 – All rights reserved
---------------------- Page: 2 ----------------------
ISO/FDIS 17088:2021(E)
Contents Page

Foreword ........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................iv

Introduction ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................vi

1 Scope ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. 1

2 Normative references ...................................................................................................................................................................................... 1

3 Terms and definitions ..................................................................................................................................................................................... 2

4 General ............................................................................................................................................................................................................................ 4

5 Basic requirements ............................................................................................................................................................................................ 4

5.1 General ........................................................................................................................................................................................................... 4

5.2 Disintegration during composting ......................................................................................................................................... 4

5.3 Ultimate aerobic biodegradability ......................................................................................................................................... 4

5.4 No adverse effect of compost on terrestrial organisms ....................................................................................... 4

5.5 Control of constituents ..................................................................................................................................................................... 5

6 Detailed requirements ................................................................................................................................................................................... 5

6.1 General ........................................................................................................................................................................................................... 5

6.2 Disintegration during composting ......................................................................................................................................... 5

6.2.1 General...................................................................................................................................................................................... 5

6.2.2 Variation in permitted thickness ....................................................................................................................... 6

6.3 Ultimate biodegradation ................................................................................................................................................................. 6

6.3.1 Aerobic biodegradation ............................................................................................................................................. 6

6.3.2 Potential for biogas production .......................................................................................................................... 7

6.4 No adverse effects of compost on terrestrial organisms .................................................................................... 8

6.4.1 General...................................................................................................................................................................................... 8

6.4.2 Ecotoxicity test scheme .............................................................................................................................................. 8

6.4.3 Plant growth test (mandatory) ............................................................................................................................ 8

6.4.4 Acute earthworm toxicity test (mandatory) ............................................................................................ 9

6.4.5 Chronic earthworm toxicity test (mandatory) ....................................................................................... 9

6.4.6 Nitrification inhibition test with soil microorganisms (optional) ........................................ 9

6.5 Control of constituents ..................................................................................................................................................................... 9

6.5.1 General...................................................................................................................................................................................... 9

6.5.2 Regulated metals and other elements ........................................................................................................... 9

6.5.3 Per- and poly-fluorinated compounds (PFCs) .....................................................................................10

6.5.4 Other hazardous substances ..............................................................................................................................10

6.5.5 Volatile solids ...................................................................................................................................................................10

7 Declaration of results ...................................................................................................................................................................................10

8 Test report ................................................................................................................................................................................................................10

Annex A (informative) Examples of maximum concentrations of regulated metals and other

elements .....................................................................................................................................................................................................................12

Annex B (normative) Detection of per- and poly-fluorinated substances compounds and

maximum concentrations other hazardous substances ..........................................................................................13

Annex C (normative) Determination of ecotoxic effects on higher plants .................................................................14

Annex D (normative) Determination of acute ecotoxic effects to earthworm .......................................................16

Annex E (normative) Determination of chronic ecotoxic effects to earthworm ..................................................18

Annex F (informative) Determination of nitrification activity of soil microorganisms ...............................20

Bibliography .............................................................................................................................................................................................................................22

© ISO 2021 – All rights reserved iii
---------------------- Page: 3 ----------------------
ISO/FDIS 17088:2021(E)
Foreword

ISO (the International Organization for Standardization) is a worldwide federation of national standards

bodies (ISO member bodies). The work of preparing International Standards is normally carried out

through ISO technical committees. Each member body interested in a subject for which a technical

committee has been established has the right to be represented on that committee. International

organizations, governmental and non­governmental, in liaison with ISO, also take part in the work.

ISO collaborates closely with the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) on all matters of

electrotechnical standardization.

The procedures used to develop this document and those intended for its further maintenance are

described in the ISO/IEC Directives, Part 1. In particular, the different approval criteria needed for the

different types of ISO documents should be noted. This document was drafted in accordance with the

editorial rules of the ISO/IEC Directives, Part 2 (see www .iso .org/ directives).

Attention is drawn to the possibility that some of the elements of this document may be the subject of

patent rights. ISO shall not be held responsible for identifying any or all such patent rights. Details of

any patent rights identified during the development of the document will be in the Introduction and/or

on the ISO list of patent declarations received (see www .iso .org/ patents).

Any trade name used in this document is information given for the convenience of users and does not

constitute an endorsement.

For an explanation of the voluntary nature of standards, the meaning of ISO specific terms and

expressions related to conformity assessment, as well as information about ISO's adherence to the

World Trade Organization (WTO) principles in the Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT), see www .iso .org/

iso/ foreword .html.

This document was prepared by Technical Committee ISO/TC 61, Plastics, Subcommittee SC 14,

Environmental aspects.

This third edition cancels and replaces the second edition (ISO 17088:2012), which has been technically

revised.
The main changes compared to the previous edition are as follows:
— in Clause 3:

— the following terms have been added: organic recycling, anaerobic digestion, per- and poly-

fluorinated compound, well-managed industrial composting process, industrial composting,

organic constituents, home composting;
— the term catalyst has been deleted;
— 6.1.4 has been deleted;
— a new subclause, 6.2.2, on variation in permitted thickness has been added;

— in 6.3, requirements regarding biodegradability of constituents have been revised;

— in 6.3.1.1, the following references have been added as additional laboratory test methods for

biodegradation testing: ISO 14851, ISO 14852, ISO 17556;
— a new subclause, 6.3.2, on potential for biogas production has been added;

— 6.4 has been extended covering ecotoxicity tests with representative species from three trophic levels;

— in 6.5, new requirements regarding control of constituents with respect to per- and poly-fluorinated

compounds (PFCs) and hazardous substances (as specified in Annex B) have been included;

— the list of regulated metals in EU + EFTA countries has been revised;
iv © ISO 2021 – All rights reserved
---------------------- Page: 4 ----------------------
ISO/FDIS 17088:2021(E)
— new annexes, Annex B, Annex C, Annex E and Annex F, have been added.

Any feedback or questions on this document should be directed to the user’s national standards body. A

complete listing of these bodies can be found at www .iso .org/ members .html.
© ISO 2021 – All rights reserved v
---------------------- Page: 5 ----------------------
ISO/FDIS 17088:2021(E)
Introduction

Management of solid wastes is a problem of growing interest around the world. Cities, towns and

countries are attempting to divert more materials from disposal (landfills and incineration without

energy recovery) by performing different recovery options in order to transform waste into usable

products. Plastics recovery technologies include material recovery (mechanical recycling, chemical

or feedstock recycling, and biological or organic recycling) and the recovery of energy in the form of

usable heat under controlled combustion conditions.

This document intends to correctly identify compostable plastics, and compostable products made

from plastics, which can be recovered by organic recycling, i.e. will disintegrate and biodegrade

satisfactorily together with biowaste producing compost as an outcome, in composting or in anaerobic

digestion followed by composting, and will not leave any persistent or hazardous residues.

vi © ISO 2021 – All rights reserved
---------------------- Page: 6 ----------------------
FINAL DRAFT INTERNATIONAL STANDARD ISO/FDIS 17088:2021(E)
Plastics — Organic recycling — Specifications for
compostable plastics

WARNING — Sewage, activated sludge, soil and compost might contain potentially pathogenic

organisms. Therefore, appropriate precautions should be taken when handling them. Toxic test,

compounds and those whose properties are unknown should be handled with care.
1 Scope

This document specifies procedures and requirements for plastics, and products made from plastics,

that are suitable for recovery through organic recycling. The four following aspects are addressed:

a) disintegration during composting;
b) ultimate aerobic biodegradation;
c) no adverse effects of compost on terrestrial organisms;
d) control of constituents.

These four aspects are suitable to assess the effects on the industrial composting process.

This document is intended to be used as the basis for systems of labelling and claims for compostable

plastics materials and products.

This document does not provide information on requirements for the biodegradability of plastics which

end up in the environment as litter. It is also not applicable to biological treatment undertaken in small

installations by householders.

NOTE 1 The recovery of compostable plastics through composting can be carried out under the conditions

found in well­managed industrial composting processes, where the temperature, water content, aerobic

conditions, carbon/nitrogen ratio and processing conditions are optimized. Such conditions are generally

obtained in industrial and municipal composting plants. Under these conditions, compostable plastics

disintegrate and biodegrade at rates comparable to yard trimmings, kraft paper bags and food scraps.

NOTE 2 “Compostable” or “compostable in municipal and industrial composting facilities” are expressions

considered to be equivalent to organically recyclable for the purposes of this document.

2 Normative references

The following documents are referred to in the text in such a way that some or all of their content

constitutes requirements of this document. For dated references, only the edition cited applies. For

undated references, the latest edition of the referenced document (including any amendments) applies.

ISO 472, Plastics — Vocabulary

ISO 11268­1, Soil quality — Effects of pollutants on earthworms — Part 1: Determination of acute toxicity

to Eisenia fetida/Eisenia andrei

ISO 11268­2, Soil quality — Effects of pollutants on earthworms — Part 2: Determination of effects on

reproduction of Eisenia fetida/Eisenia andrei

ISO 11269­2, Soil quality — Determination of the effects of pollutants on soil flora — Part 2: Effects of

contaminated soil on the emergence and early growth of higher plants

ISO 14851, Determination of the ultimate aerobic biodegradability of plastic materials in an aqueous

medium — Method by measuring the oxygen demand in a closed respirometer
© ISO 2021 – All rights reserved 1
---------------------- Page: 7 ----------------------
ISO/FDIS 17088:2021(E)

ISO 14852, Determination of the ultimate aerobic biodegradability of plastic materials in an aqueous

medium — Method by analysis of evolved carbon dioxide

ISO 14855­1, Determination of the ultimate aerobic biodegradability of plastic materials under controlled

composting conditions — Method by analysis of evolved carbon dioxide — Part 1: General method

ISO 14855­2, Determination of the ultimate aerobic biodegradability of plastic materials under controlled

composting conditions — Method by analysis of evolved carbon dioxide — Part 2: Gravimetric measurement

of carbon dioxide evolved in a laboratory-scale test

ISO 15685, Soil quality — Determination of  potential nitrification and inhibition of nitrification — Rapid

test by ammonium oxidation

ISO 16929, Plastics — Determination of the degree of disintegration of plastic materials under defined

composting conditions in a pilot-scale test

ISO 17556, Plastics — Determination of the ultimate aerobic biodegradability of plastic materials in soil by

measuring the oxygen demand in a respirometer or the amount of carbon dioxide evolved

EN 14582, Characterization of waste — Halogen and sulfur content — Oxygen combustion in closed

systems and determination methods

OECD 2006), Test No. 208: Terrestrial Plant Test: Seedling Emergence and Seedling Growth Test, OECD

Guidelines for the Testing of Chemicals, Section 2, OECD Publishing, Paris,
3 Terms and definitions

For the purposes of this document, the terms and definitions given in ISO 472 and the following apply.

ISO and IEC maintain terminological databases for use in standardization at the following addresses:

— ISO Online browsing platform: available at https:// www .iso .org/ obp
— IEC Electropedia: available at http:// www .electropedia .org/
3.1
compost

organic soil conditioner obtained by biodegradation of a mixture consisting principally of vegetable

residues, occasionally with other organic material and having a limited mineral content

[SOURCE: ISO 472:2013, 2.1735]
3.2
compostable plastic

plastic that undergoes degradation by biological processes during composting to yield CO , water,

inorganic compounds and biomass at a rate consistent with other known compostable materials and

leave no visible, distinguishable or toxic residue
Note 1 to entry: "Hazardous" is used synonymously to "toxic"..
3.3
composting
aerobic process designed to produce compost starting from biodegradable waste

Note 1 to entry: Composting is classified into industrial composting, home composting and worm composting.

3.4
disintegration
physical breakdown of a material into very small fragments
2 © ISO 2021 – All rights reserved
---------------------- Page: 8 ----------------------
ISO/FDIS 17088:2021(E)
3.5
filler

relatively inert solid material added to a plastic to modify its strength, permanence, working properties

or other qualities, or to lower costs
3.6
organic recycling

aerobic (composting) or anaerobic (digestion) treatment of plastics waste under controlled conditions

using micro-organisms to produce, in the presence of oxygen, stabilized organic residues (compost),

carbon dioxide and water or, in the absence of oxygen, stabilized organic residues (compost), methane

and carbon dioxide
Note 1 to entry: The term “biological recycling” is used synonymously.

[SOURCE: ISO 15270:2008, 3.5, modified — "biodegradable" has been omitted and "(compost)" has

been added.]
3.7
total dry solids

amount of solids obtained by taking a known volume of test material or compost and drying at about

105 °C to constant mass
3.8
ultimate aerobic biodegradation

breakdown of an organic compound by microorganisms in the presence of oxygen into carbon dioxide,

water and mineral salts of any other elements present (mineralization) plus new biomass

3.9
volatile solid

solids obtained by subtracting the residue of a known volume of test material or compost after

incineration at about 550 °C from the total dry solids (3.7) of the same sample

Note 1 to entry: The volatile-solids content is an indication of the amount of organic matter present.

3.10
anaerobic digestion

process of controlled decomposition of biodegradable materials under managed conditions where free

oxygen is absent, at temperatures suitable for naturally occurring mesophilic or thermophilic anaerobic

and facultative bacteria species, that convert the inputs to a methane rich biogas and digestate

Note 1 to entry: In a second phase, the digestate is typically stabilised by means of a composting (aerobic) process.

3.11
per- and poly-fluorinated compound
PFC

organofluorine compound containing only carbon-fluorine bonds and carbon-carbon bonds but also

other heteroatoms
3.12
well-managed industrial composting process

composting process performed under controlled conditions where the temperature, water content,

aerobic conditions, carbon/ nitrogen ratio and other conditions are optimized
3.13
industrial composting

composting process performed under controlled conditions on industrial scale with the aim of

producing compost for the market

Note 1 to entry: In some regions industrial composting is referred to as professional composting.

© ISO 2021 – All rights reserved 3
---------------------- Page: 9 ----------------------
ISO/FDIS 17088:2021(E)
3.14
organic constituent

chemical constituent that contains carbon covalently linked to other carbon atoms and to other

elements, most commonly hydrogen, oxygen or nitrogen

Note 1 to entry: Inorganic carbonates, carbides, cyanides and simple oxides such as carbon monoxide and carbon

dioxide are not considered as organic constituent.

Note 2 to entry: Allotropes of carbon, such as diamond, graphite, carbon black, fullerenes, and carbon nanotubes

are also not considered as organic constituent.
3.15
home composting

practice performed by a private individual with the aim of producing compost for his own use

4 General

4.1 The purpose of this document is to establish requirements for plastics materials and plastics

products that can be recovered by means of organic recycling in well-managed industrial composting

facilities where the typical conditions of composting can be consistently obtained (i.e. a long thermophilic

phase, aerobic conditions, sufficient water content, a suitable carbon/nitrogen ratio, etc.).

4.2 The following characteristics are determined:
a) the ultimate level of aerobic biodegradation of the test material;
b) the degree of disintegration obtained;
c) any negative effects on the finished compost;

d) the maximum concentration of regulated metals and other elements and per- and poly-fluorinated

compounds (PFCs) (determined as fluorine) in the test material.

In addition, the use of other hazardous substances as specified in Annex B in the test material is

assessed.
5 Basic requirements
5.1 General

In order to comply with this document, plastics products and materials shall demonstrate each of the

characteristics found in 5.2 to 5.5, as quantified in Clause 6.
5.2 Disintegration during composting

The plastics product or material shall disintegrate during composting as quantified in 6.2.

5.3 Ultimate aerobic biodegradability

The ultimate level of aerobic biodegradation shall be established by testing under controlled conditions

as quantified in 6.3.
5.4 No adverse effect of compost on terrestrial organisms

The composting of plastics products or materials shall have no adverse effects on terrestrial organisms

as quantified in 6.4.
4 © ISO 2021 – All rights reserved
---------------------- Page: 10 ----------------------
ISO/FDIS 17088:2021(E)

Ecotoxic effects on terrestrial organisms shall be determined by comparing compost produced with

and without the addition of a plastics product or a material.
5.5 Control of constituents

The plastics product or material under investigation shall be identified and characterized prior to

testing including:
— determination of the presence of regulated metals and other elements;

— determination of the presence per- and poly-fluorinated compounds (PFCs) (determined as fluorine);

— evaluation of the presence of other hazardous substances as specified in Annex B;

— determination of volatile solids;
as quantified in 6.5, taking legal compliance into consideration.
6 Detailed requirements
6.1 General

6.1.1 In order to be identified as compostable, products and materials shall meet the requirements

of 6.2, 6.3, 6.4 and 6.5, using appropriate laboratory tests representative of the conditions found in

industrial composting facilities.

6.1.2 Test samples shall not be subjected to conditions or procedures designed to accelerate

disintegration or biodegradation prior to testing as described in 6.2 or 6.3.

6.1.3 If the products or materials under test include inorganic fillers, the fillers shall be present when

the products or materials are tested as described in 6.2, 6.3, 6.4, 6.5.2 and 6.5.3. However, their inorganic

carbon content shall be excluded from the mineralization calculations in 6.3. Products or materials

to which fillers are subsequently added, or in which the filler content is changed, shall be retested to

demonstrate that the new material meets the requirements of 6.2, 6.3, 6.4, 6.5.2 and 6.5.3. Manufacturers

may establish an acceptable range by testing the highest and the lowest concentrations. In addition,

fillers shall be identified and assessed according to 6.5.4 with respect to potential hazardous properties

as defined in Annex B. Examples of inorganic fillers include (but are not limited to) calcium carbonate

and titanium dioxide.

An exception shall be made for materials containing calcium carbonate or other carbonates as a filler.

For biodegradation, these materials should be tested without the carbonate filler as this might disturb

an exact measurement. For chemical analyses, disintegration and toxicity the material should however

be tested with the carbonate filler included.
6.2 Disintegration during composting
6.2.1 General

When testing finished articles and products, testing shall be conducted starting with the articles and

products in the same form as they are intended to be used. For products and materials that are made in

several different thicknesses or densities, such as films, containers and foams, only the thickest or most

dense products and materials need to be tested as long as the chemical composition and structure of

the respective articles and products remain the same.

NOTE 1 In general, for practical reasons, samples of the plastic material are tested in order to define the

maximum thickness allowing disintegration. Finished articles and products are then manufactured with

thicknesses below the maximum thickness.
© ISO 2021 – All rights reserved 5
---------------------- Page: 11 ----------------------
ISO/FDIS 17088:2021(E)

A plastics product is considered to have demonstrated satisfactory disintegration if, after 84 days in a

controlled composting test, it is completely disintegrated into less than 2 mm fragments. This is proven

if no more than 10 % of its original dry mass remains after sieving through a 2,0 mm sieve.

NOTE 2 The 90 % threshold is the result of complete disintegration (100 %) minus 10 % tolerance. A 10 %

tolerance is applied in order to take into consideration the variability occurring in biological processes.

The test shall be carried out in accordance with ISO 16929.

Alternatively, the lab-scale test in accordance with ISO 20200 can be used. The initial test item

concentration shall be 1 % (wet mass) in each of these tests following the procedure given in ISO 16929.

In case of differing results, ISO 16929 results shall prevail.

Special attention should be given to the visual aspects of compost. Visual contamination of compost

as evidenced by reduction of aesthetic acceptability should not be significantly increased by any post

composting residues of the introduced plastics product or material. Therefore, any residue shall be

indistinguishable to the naked eye from the other matter in the compost at a distance of 500 mm. The

visible assessment of the compost shall be documented by means of photography.
6.2.2 Variation in permitted thickness

In some cases, specific composting technologies require early sieving and fast disintegration. In this

case, the following rule shall apply in order to identify the maximum thickness.

If disintegration is achieved for the maximum thickness (X) in 12 weeks, it shall be deemed given that

a thickness of X x
...

Questions, Comments and Discussion

Ask us and Technical Secretary will try to provide an answer. You can facilitate discussion about the standard in here.