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Aligning with labelling and certification requirements

Labelling and certifications considerations

Third-party green certification programmes are playing an increasingly important role in influencing purchasing decisions across industries.

When it comes to advanced materials, labelling companies such as TÜV and DIN are paving the way for a more circular economy by determining which category a product belongs to depending on its specific polymer blend and the intended use of the application. This ensures that a product is properly categorised depending on the end-user experience it provides, thereby preventing confusion and streamlining the end-of-life product journey.

OK bio-based certification breakdown

Biobased products that meet specific requirements are eligible for OK biobased certification through organizations such as TÜV Austria. This certification provides an independent guarantee of the renewability of the product’s materials. The certification process involves collecting information about the product, analyzing the product’s biobased and total carbon content, and evaluating the test results. The analysis and evaluation portion of the process usually takes four to six weeks, and the certification is valid for five years.

To be OK biobased certified, the product must demonstrate at least 20% biobased carbon content and at least 30% total carbon content. The product is certified as one-star, two-star, three-star or four-star biobased, depending on the percentage of renewable raw materials.
 
Products that are at least partially made from bioplastics or materials of natural origins can be submitted for the certification programme. These products can be raw materials, additives or finished products. Fuels are not eligible for OK biobased certification.

OK compostable certification breakdown

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TÜV Austria offers OK compost certification and labelling. Products or packaging with the OK compost INDUSTRIAL label are guaranteed to biodegrade in an industrial compost facility. OK compost INDUSTRIAL products will not break down in landfills.

The OK compost HOME label requires that products meet specific technical requirements to guarantee its materials will biodegrade in a home garden compost. Any material used in home compostable packaging, including the adhesives and printing ink, will decompose into soil. Products that solely receive the OK compost INDUSTRIAL certification can only biodegrade within industrial composting facilities at temperatures between 55 and 60℃.

Products that receive OK compost HOME certification are also able to biodegrade at lower temperatures, so a person can add them to a home garden or compost bin. Home compostable packaging means that any component or material used in the packaging including the printing ink, and the adhesives decompose into organic soil.​

OK biodegradable certification breakdown

During biodegradation, microorganisms break down materials by consuming and converting the matter. The specific type of microorganisms involved in biodegradation is related to the environment’s temperature, moisture, pH and other factors. TÜV Austria has developed certification and labeling that indicates the environments in which a product will biodegrade. These environments include marine, soil and water.

 

The three primary certifications (MARINE, SOIL and WATER) differ based on the environment in which a product is able to biodegrade—marine waters, soil and freshwater (such as lakes and rivers) respectively. Each environment has different microorganisms, temperatures and other elements that will dictate what types of products are able to break down in it. An important note: If a product receives the OK biodegradable WATER certification, it does not mean it automatically qualifies as OK biodegradable MARINE.

Frequently asked questions

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