Degradation and Toxicity

Protect the environment

Packaging in sea water.

Marine degradation

Plastics used for specific marine products, such as fishing nets, lines, and baits, can inevitably end up in the ocean. Biodegradability of these materials offers enormous benefits to prevent damage to ecosystems and the environment. At Normec OWS, we offer different types of marine degradation testing for different materials in sea water, as well as testing for heavy metals & fluorine and toxicity, all in accordance with the available standards.

Why Normec OWS?

  • Independent laboratory
  • Recognized worldwide
  • Expert in the field

Real-life conditions

Marine degradation test results can be used for certification purposes, making marketing or legal claims, or for supporting research & development. The only available certificate, the European OK biodegradable MARINE certificate, issued by TÜV AUSTRIA, requires biodegradation and disintegration testing in sea water, as well as toxicity and heavy metals & fluorine testing. Due to the formation of biofilms, however, plastics eventually sink to the sea floor, where they may be exposed to completely different bacterial compositions.

As Normec OWS is always on top of the latest developments, we also offer additional degradation testing in the sediment-seawater interface and in sediment.

Biodegradation testing

The certification requirement for biodegradation in seawater (pelagic zone), in accordance with the ASTM D6691 standard, is 90% carbon to CO2 conversion to be reached within six months.We offer additional biodegradation testing in the sediment-seawater interface (eulittoral zone), in accordance with ISO 19679 and ISO 18830, and in sediment (benthic zone), in accordance with ISO 22404.

Besides certification conditions, we also offer testing under screening conditions. This applies in cases of early research and when results will only be used internally. Multiple sample discounts are offered if several samples need to be tested in parallel.To accurately mimic real-life conditions, we retrieve water and sediment from the North Sea to ensure the right inoculum, mixed with minerals as described in the relevant standards.

Disintegration testing

For certification purposes, using quantitative testing under certification conditions, 90% disintegration is required in 12 weeks for the pelagic zone, as stipulated in the ASTM D6691 standard. Since the disintegration of the material is affected by UV light and heat, we also offer additional quantitative disintegration testing for the eulittoral and benthic zones, in accordance with ISO 23832.

Furthermore, we offer qualitative testing, under screening conditions, that shows how a product breaks down, which can be used to test the effect of different product thicknesses.

Toxicity testing

Any toxic effect of residuals left behind after biodegradation could potentially have a negative effect on the marine ecosystem. Besides testing for heavy metals and fluorine, as required for certification purposes, we offer different toxicity tests. The Daphnia Magna Toxicity Test, in accordance with the OPPTS 850.1010 standard, evaluates any toxic effect.

This can be performed on different kinds of material, as well as intermediates, final products, inks, adhesives, varnishes, masterbatches, and additives.

Furthermore, at Normec OWS we are working on developing new test methods, such as methods using marine algae and other marine micro- and meso-organisms.

Curious what Normec OWS can do for your company?

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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.