Degradation and Toxicity

Protect the environment

Lab employee holding flask with soil.

Abiotic degradation

As opposed to biodegradation, abiotic degradation is a non-microbial process that concerns the fragmentation of the material into many small pieces, influenced by UV light and/or heat. At Normec OWS, we perform abiotic degradation testing that accurately replicates natural thermal fluctuations and sunlight conditions. Although no certificates exist, the test results can be used for making legal or marketing claims, or for research & development purposes.

Why Normec OWS?

  • Independent laboratory
  • Recognized worldwide
  • Expert in the field

Testing capabilities

Our testing capabilities are equipped for day-and-night cycles to replicate different kinds of natural conditions, including UV weathering, thermal weathering and different temperature profiles.

The size of the particles can be calculated after the designated testing time by looking at the molecular weight of the material.

Testing standards

Our abiotic degradation testing is done according to different standards, including SASO 2879 and ASTM D6954, which consider abiotic degradation as the first step in the full degradation process.

According to these standards, upon reaching a certain molecular weight the abiotic degradation of the material is followed by a second stage of biodegradation. The purpose is to show that the fragmented material is biodegradable, in compost or soil for example, through the conversion of the material into CO₂, H₂O and biomass.

Optionally, ecotoxicity testing can be done as the third and final step.

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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.