Thursday, March 12, 2009

Interview With Biodegradable Products Institute

One Brooklyn Green Team member came across this BPI logo, which you may see on lots of disposable bags now and in the future. They decided to investigate and went to Steve Mojo, the institute's executive director.

BGT: What is the BPI Logo program?
SM: The BPI symbol shows that products meet ASTM D6400 or D6868 (for plastic and paper products) and will disintegrate and biodegrade swiftly and safely in a professionally managed composting facility.

BGT: How long have you been in the business, and how much have you seen the demand for this type of product grow?
SM: The program started in 1999. The program has been growing rapidly as of late, as more communities get actively involved in food scrap diversion efforts.

BGT: Is there much competition for your logo program? ie - are other groups competitng to have their logo be industry standard?
SM: The BPI is the leading certifier for compostables. In Europe, this task is done by either DIN Certco or OK Compost. All of use similar standards and processes to approve the products.

BGT: Totes vs. biodegradable: how do you see them comparing, particularly in light of the almost disposable way this country is using totes?
SM: I don’t see much overlap. Reusable shopping bags make a great deal of sense. The BPI does not approve “biodegradable” products/bags. Rather we approve ‘compostable’ ones. These have value in situations where the bags can have a second life as liners for food waste kitchen catchers in diversion programs, such as SF and Seattle. See the article . On the East Coast we have yet to understand and embrace the benefits of food scrap diversion vs. sending them to the landfill, where they contribute to fugitive ghg emissions.

BGT: What's next in terms of innovation?
SM: I fully expect to see materials with better properties, resulting in more products or ones with lower costs.

Thanks Steve

About BPI: The Biodegradable Products Institute is a multi-stakeholder association of key individuals and groups from government, industry and academia, which promotes the use, and recycling of biodegradable polymeric materials (via composting). The BPI is open to any materials and products that demonstrate that they meet the requirements in ASTM D6400 or D6868, based on testing in a approved laboratory. Learn more about BPI.

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