1. FSC

What is FSC®?

FSC® stands for Forest Stewardship Council® and is a foundation. FSC was founded in 1993 in Brazil to counter the deforestation of the Amazonian rainforest. Today FSC is the worldwide standard for sustainable forestry. Currently there are more than 185 million hectares of forests certified.

FSC ensures that all registered forest plantations only cut down trees according to very strict norms and regulations. In a nutshell this means that, every year only a predetermined part of the forest can be cut down, to preserve the natural environment for the flora and fauna. Also the rights of the local inhabitants and forest workers are respected.

FSC enforces these 10 rules and principles:

  1. The forestry complies to the national/international laws, international treaties and agreements & principles of FSC.
  2. Property and usage rights for the land and forest products are clearly defined, noted and legal.
  3. The formal and traditional rights of the local inhabitants of the land are acknowledged and respected.
  4. Through forest management, the long-term social and economic well being of the forest workers and local communities is preserved or improved.
  5. The products and facilities of the forest are used to such an efficiency, that the social and ecological functions of the forest are protected and preserved.
  6. The biodiversity, unique eco-systems and other ecological values of the forest are protected and preserved.
  7. A management plan is drawn up and applied. This management plan is always updated and contains a clear description of long term goals and resources.
  8. The condition of the forest, the harvest, the supply chain and the management activities are regularly assessed. The social and ecologic effects are also assessed.
  9. Forest management in forests with a high cultural and ecological value is carefully executed so that traits and properties are preserved and reinforced.
    10.Forest plantation have to managed according principles 1 till 9.
    Forest plantations can serve as additional wood harvest from
    natural forests so that exploitation of those natural forest is slowly
    decreased. In same time, the preservation and recovery of the
    natural forests should be stimulated.

When a company wants to sell FSC® marked or certified products, the company is obligated to join FSC. From the forest till the shop, this way the end-consumer is guaranteed that he buys genuine approved FSC certified wood products.

  1. PEFC

PEFC is basically the same as an FSC certification. Both certification types ensure that the wood and paper used, comes from sustainable forestry. PEFC was established in 1999 by 11 European countries. The difference is that PEFC is a national standard, and FSC® is a global standard. When a certain country already has a certain standard of sustainable forestry, they can apply for a PEFC certification.

  1. Compostable

What exactly does the European Norm EN 13432 mean?

The European Norm EN-13432 compromises all requirements for packaging recoverable through composting and biodegradation. This harmonised European standard provides an accompanying test scheme and evaluation criteria for determining whether various materials can be considered compostable and biodegradable.

Biodegradable and compostable

Biodegradable material can break down through the action of a naturally occurring microorganism (bacteria and fungi) to mineral aggregates such as biomass, water, carbon dioxide (CO2) or methane (CH4) in a chemical process under certain conditions (oxygen, temperature, moisture) over a period of time. In order to avoid any confusion, this doesn’t mean that the product of packaging can be converted into good quality compost. Not all biodegradable material is compostable, while all compostable material is biodegradable. For a product to be claimed fully compostable, it must completely break down in an appropriate industrial composting machine or home compost pile without releasing any toxins or metals into usable compost called humus, which provides valuable nutrients to the soil.

Criteria

The European standard EN-13432 defines the following criteria a product must fulfil in order to be regenerated through organic recovery in a composting setting in a specific time frame:

• Disintegration: After 12 weeks at least 90% of the product should be able to break down to material fragments no larger than 2 mm.
• Biodegradation: Within a maximum of 6 months at least 90% of the organic material has to be converted into CO2, water and minerals.
• Chemical composition: Maximum admissible concentrations of heavy metals (Cu, Zn, Ni, Cd, Pb, Hg, Cr, Mo, Se, As) and fluorine shall not be exceeded.
• Quality of the final compost and ecotoxicity: The quality of the compost should not decrease as a result of the added packaging material.

Certification

Different recognised certification institutions, including TÜV Austria and DIN Certco execute an assessment, during the certification procedure of EN-13432, in which not only the basic materials but also various additives and other product features are evaluated.

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