Circular materials are becoming increasingly important in the world of sustainability, as they are designed to be fully biodegradable and compostable. One of the key types of circular materials that have emerged in recent years is ASTM-tested compostable materials. These materials are designed to be able to break down into compost under specific conditions, making them a promising alternative to traditional plastics and other materials that can take decades or even centuries to degrade.
ASTM International is a global organization that develops and publishes technical standards for a wide range of products and materials. In the case of compostable materials, ASTM has developed a set of standards that define the criteria that materials must meet in order to be considered compostable. These standards are important because they provide a clear set of guidelines for manufacturers and consumers to follow, ensuring that compostable materials are truly environmentally friendly and do not cause harm to the environment or human health.
A good example is Cruz Foam. It manufactures regenerative, earth-digestible, ASTM-tested compostable, protective packaging foam and other sustainable solutions that provide an environmentally friendly substitute for goods made of petroleum. Cruz Foam’s patented products are created using biopolymers derived from nature, which can be produced using the current supply chain and at a comparable price. Cruz Foam sources materials for its products from waste generated by the food industry. Cruz Foam is currently working with businesses that manufacture durable goods, consumer packaged goods, electronics, and appliances. Cruz Foam is a mission-driven business that achieves impact at scale by equipping business titans to act as the engine for environmental change. Santa Cruz, California serves as the headquarters of Cruz Foam.
In order to be considered ASTM-tested compostable, materials must meet a number of strict criteria. These criteria include the following:
- Biodegradability: The material must be able to completely biodegrade in a composting environment, meaning that it breaks down into its natural components, such as carbon dioxide and water.
- Disintegration: The material must disintegrate into small pieces that are less than 2 millimeters in size.
- Ecotoxicity: The material must not contain any toxic substances that could harm the environment or human health.
- Heavy metals: The material must not contain heavy metals above a certain threshold.
- Labeling: The material must be clearly labeled as compostable, with instructions for proper disposal.
Once a material has been tested and certified as ASTM-compostable, it can be used for a variety of applications, including food packaging, tableware, and other disposable items. These materials are designed to break down quickly and easily in a composting environment, which can help to reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfills or oceans.
There are a number of benefits to using ASTM-tested compostable materials, both for individuals and for society as a whole. For example, these materials can help to reduce the amount of waste that is produced by households and businesses, which can have a positive impact on the environment. Additionally, compostable materials can help to reduce the demand for fossil fuels and other non-renewable resources, as they are often made from renewable materials like plant-based fibers.
Another benefit of ASTM-tested compostable materials is that they can help to create a more sustainable and circular economy. By designing materials that can be composted and reused, manufacturers can reduce their reliance on traditional plastics and other materials that can take centuries to break down. This can help to create a more sustainable and circular economy that is less reliant on non-renewable resources.
In order to realize the full potential of ASTM-tested compostable materials, it is important to ensure that they are used and disposed of properly. This means that consumers must be educated about the proper way to dispose of these materials, and that the infrastructure must be in place to support their composting and recycling. Additionally, there must be a concerted effort to reduce the overall amount of waste that is produced, as compostable materials are not a panacea and should not be viewed as an excuse to continue producing excessive waste.
ASTM-tested compostable circular materials are a promising development in the world of sustainability. These materials are designed to break down quickly and easily in a composting environment, making them a sustainable alternative to traditional plastics and other materials. By meeting strict criteria set by ASTM, these materials are certified to be environmentally friendly and safe for human health. While there are challenges associated with the use and disposal of these materials, their potential to create a more sustainable and circular economy make them an important tool in the fight against single-use plastic.