Standard Withdrawn, No replacement   Last Updated: Jan 12, 2016
ASTM D5210-92(2007)

Standard Test Method for Determining the Anaerobic Biodegradation of Plastic Materials in the Presence of Municipal Sewage Sludge (Withdrawn 2016)

Significance and Use

The degree and rate of anaerobic biodegradability of a plastic material in this test method may be predictive of the time period required to eliminate that plastic from the environment depending on the similarities of the environments. With increasing use of plastics, disposal is a major issue. This test method may be useful to estimate the degree and persistence of plastics in biologically active anaerobic disposal sites. This test method determines the rate and degree of anaerobic biodegradation by measuring the evolved volume of carbon dioxide and methane, as a function of time of exposure to anaerobic-digester sludge.

Anaerobic sewer-digester sludge from treatment of clarifier sludge at a waste-water treatment plant that treats principally municipal waste is an acceptable active anaerobic environment (available over a wide geographical area) in which to test a broad range of plastic materials. This test method may be considered an accelerated test with respect to a typical anaerobic environment, such as landfill sites that plastics encounter in usual disposal methods because of the highly active microbial population of anaerobic-digester sludge.


1.1 This test method determines the degree and rate of anaerobic biodegradation of synthetic plastic materials (including formulation additives) on exposure to anaerobic-digester municipal sewage sludge from a waste-water plant, under laboratory conditions.

1.2 This test method is designed to index plastic materials that are more or less biodegradable relative to a positive standard in an anaerobic environment.

1.3 This test method is applicable to all plastic materials that are not inhibitory to the microorganisms present in anaerobic sewage sludge.

1.4 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as the standard.

This standard does not purport to address all of the safety problems, 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. Specific hazards are given in Section 8.

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