The best way to verify the validity of a claim is to rely on third-party certification and approval programs.

Third-party verification can be an extremely helpful tool when determining whether a product or service has the benefits it claims to have. It is particularly useful for single-use packaging, as pressure from consumers, regulators, and others has created expectations for product categories that not all manufacturers can meet.

There are important differences between standards, certifications, and labeling programs.

We use all three to verify and communicate the different attributes of our products.


Standards are what certifications verify to.

Ex: ASTM D6400


Certifications help consumers and other audiences trust that products meet standards.

Ex: BPI Certification, CMA Approval

Labeling Programs

Designed to simplify messaging on products and packaging.

May be tied to independent standards or recognized certifications.

Ex: How2Reycle


ASTM Intertnational

ASTM International

Organization that develops and publishes voluntary consensus technical standards for a wide range of materials, products, systems and services.

There are currently three different ASTM standards for products and materials designed for industrial composting:

  • D6400
    For plastics and products made from plastics
      • ex. our PLA cold cups, lids, and cutlery
  • D6868  
    For products made from a substrate lined or coated in a plastic film
      • Ex. our paper hot cups and soup cups
  • D8410
    For fiber-based products produced from pulp, corrugated materials, containerboard, paper, paperboard, and molded fiber.
      • Ex. molded fiber products and paper bags


This is the physical or “visual” fragmentation of the product, and is the metric used in field testing programs like the one run by the Compost Manufacturers Alliance (CMA). Items must achieve 90% disintegration in 12 weeks or 84 days. This is a pass/fail test, meaning that items may achieve 90% disintegration well ahead of the 12 week/84 day time period. Only a look at a specific item’s test results will reveal the exact time it took for a product to disintegrate.


This is to establish that the product is not only visually disintegrating, but also that it is mineralizing at the molecular level thanks to microbes that consume carbon and convert it into biomass. Items must achieve 90% biodegradation in 180 days. This is a pass/fail test, meaning that items may achieve 90% biodegradation well ahead of the 180 day time period. Only a look at a specific item’s test results will reveal the exact time it took for a product to disintegrate.

Heavy Metals

The product may not introduce significant levels of 11 different specified heavy metals.

Plant Toxicity

The product may not introduce significant levels of 11 different specified heavy metals.

Certifications & Approvals


BPI Certification

The Biodegradable Products Institute (BPI) is the leading authority on compostable products and packaging in North America.

All products and materials certified by BPI meet ASTM standards for compostability, PLUS:

  • Eligibility Requirements – Only items that are associated with desirable feedstocks like food scraps and yard trimming are eligible for BPI Certification. This helps keep the total volume of packaging in organics streams lower, which gives composters accepting compostable products a better chance at managing contamination from non-compostable products.
  • Fluorinated Chemicals (PFAS) – As of January 1, 2020, products must meet three conditions regarding PFAS to be BPI-Certified:
    1. No intentionally added fluorinated chemicals
    2. A test report showing less than 100 ppm total organic fluorine
    3. Technical review of the formulation
  • Labeling Requirements – BPI reviews every piece of certified product and packaging artwork to make sure the BPI Certification Mark is present. They also help guide other labeling decisions.

Compost Manufacturing Alliance

CMA Approval

The Compost Manufacturing Alliance (CMA) is a for-profit entity that offers field disintegration testing in several prominent processing methods with varying allowable disintegration time frames:

  • Windrow (90 days)
  • Covered In-Vessel (45 days)
  • Modified Aerated Static Pile (60 days)

Field testing has become an important data point for composters, particularly as processing technologies and time-frame requirements have evolved.

However, no ASTM standard or test method exists for field disintegration testing.

What field testing does show, is that conditions in real world composting environments are dynamic and variable.

That variability is difficult to simulate in lab tests that hold things like heat and moisture constant. The challenge is to generate test results in these “real world” environments that composters, manufacturers, and others can rely on. That’s one reason why an ASTM or other third-party standard for field testing is a critical need.

To view lists of our CMA-Approved products by technology, please use the following links: CMA-H, CMA-I, CMA-W, CMA-S, CMA-MSAP


How to Recycle label


There are no third-party standards or certifications available for recycling. This is one of the most important differences between “recyclable” and “compostable” claims.

Some of our products and packaging feature the How2Recycle label, which is a labeling program managed by GreenBlue. The program utilizes access data for specific materials and packaging to classify products as either:

  • Widely Recyclable – 60% or greater access

  • Sometimes Recyclable – between 20% and 60% access

  • Not Yet Recyclable – less than 20% access

  • Store Drop-Off – recyclable in store drop off programs only.

Our BlueStripe® cold cups are classified as “Sometimes Recyclable”, and feature that label on the packaging and cups themselves.


Compostable Field Testing Program (CFTP)

Operated by US Composting Council’s Compost Research and Education Foundation (CREF)

This effort aims to bring field testing to composters across North America and beyond and collect data to understand composting best practices.

The CFTP provides a standard test kit and a customizable protocol for the common "mesh bag method" for field testing. The CFTP collects and aggregates data from facilities using the test kit to populate an online database.

This program will provide comprehensive baseline data correlating composting conditions with the disintegration of common compostable products and packaging.

CREF, the composting industry, compostable products industry, and academics will be able to use the open source database to develop tools for composters wanting to understand best practices for processing compostable products and packaging.