ASTM WK62848

    New Test Method for Determining Biodegradability of Materials Exposed to Source Separated Organic Municipal Solid Waste Composting That Includes Both Mesophilic and Thermophilic Conditions

    (What is a Work Item?)

    Developed by Subcommittee: D34.03 | Committee D34 | Contact Staff Manager


    1. Scope

    1.1 This test method covers the biodegradation properties of a material by reproducibly exposing materials to conditions typical of source-separated organic municipal solid waste (MSW) composting. A material is composted under controlled conditions using a synthetic compost matrix and determining the acclimation time, cumulative oxygen uptake, cumulative carbon dioxide production, and percent of theoretical biodegradation over the period of the test. This test method does not establish the suitability of the composted product for any use. 1.2 This test is performed at both mesophilic and thermophilic temperatures. Some municipal compost operations reach thermophilic temperatures during operation for varied lengths of time. Thermophilic temperatures can affect the biodegradation of some materials. This test is not intended to replicate all conditions within municipal compost operations but is intended to replicate those that reach thermophilic temperatures for at minimum three days during normal operation. 1.3 Units--The values stated in both inch-pound and SI units are to be regarded separately as the standard. The values given in parentheses are for information only. 1.4 This standard does not purport to address all of the safety concerns, if any, associated with its use. It is the responsibility of the user of this standard to establish appropriate safety and health practices and determine the applicability of regulatory limitations prior to use.


    compost; thermophilic; mesophilic; biodegradation; respirometry; organic; waste


    The current standard D5929 provides a test method for determining the biodegradability of materials in MSW mesophilic compost conditions. While this is an important condition to test, there are many compost facilities that achieve thermophilic temperatures during their operation. Thermophilic temperatures can affect the biodegradability of some materials, as such it is necessary to also have a test that provides for test conditions in the thermophilic range. Committee D20 has test methods for assessing biodegradability of plastic materials in thermophilic compost systems. This test method has different applications from that standard as it is material agnostic and includes both a mesophilic and thermophilic phase similar to that of many municipal compost operations.

    The title and scope are in draft form and are under development within this ASTM Committee.

    Citing ASTM Standards
    Back to Top
    Work Item Status

    Date Initiated:

    Technical Contact:
    Teresa Clark

    Draft Under Development