Analytical services

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Biobased carbon content

Biobased carbon testing is a specific method used to determine the amount of carbon in a product that is derived from biomass, as opposed to non-circular and/or fossil origin. While this can be used to gain insight into the natural, renewable resources used in a product, it is no indicator of biodegradability. Biobased carbon is not necessarily biodegradable, just as biodegradable carbon
is not necessarily biobased.

Why Normec OWS?

  • Independent laboratory
  • Recognized worldwide
  • Expert in the field

Different standards

Biobased carbon testing is offered as a separate service by Normec OWS and can be used for different purposes, such as certification or research & development. We test and report according to different standards, which have a different way of reporting the total carbon (TC) content subdivided into the total organic carbon (TOC) and the total inorganic carbon (TIC) content.

Using biobased carbon content testing according to the ASTM D6866 standard, we report the biobased carbon content as a fraction of the TOC. The ISO 16620 standard allows for reporting the biobased carbon content either as a fraction of the TOC or TC, while the EN 16640 standard reports the biobased carbon content as a fraction of the TC. The different analyses can also be performed and reported separately, such as TOC, TC, TIC or ash content.


Different certificates exist that are based on different standards. Therefore, a broad range of tests can be done according to these standards.

  • OK Biobased (TÜV Austria), for which biobased carbon content is tested according to the EN 16640 standard, either according to the class or the percentage approach. The class approach is based on a maximum of 4 stars that can be placed on the product packaging, whereby 1 star equals 20-40% biobased carbon, 2 stars (40-60%), 3 stars (60-80%), and 4 stars (more than 80%). The percentage approach, according to EN 16640, allows you to place the exact percentage of biobased carbon on your product packaging.
  • DIN Biobased, for which biobased carbon content is tested according to ASTM D6866, shows the class divided into 20-50%, 50-85%, and more than 85% biobased carbon content.

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All frequently asked questions
in a row

Is Normec OWS ISO 17025 accredited?

Yes, we are recognized by DIN CERTCO in line with ISO 17025. This accreditation covers all test procedures and standards with regard to compostability and biodegradation. Additionally, we are ISO 17025 accredited by BELAC for our compost analyses and also recognized by TÜV Austria. Normec OWS is also ISO 17020 accredited for inspection services and ISO 14001 approved for environmental management. View our recognitions & certificates.

Where is Normec OWS located?

Our main offices are located in Ghent, Belgium. We also have a subsidiary located in Kettering, Ohio to serve the needs of our American customers.

How long does testing take?

Testing duration depends on the specific type of test and the product itself. This can range from a couple of weeks for material characteristics testing, to months or even years for biodegradation testing. As these are microbial processes, we cannot predict the exact duration beforehand.