Significance and Use
The degree and rate of aerobic biodegradability of a plastic material in the environment determines the extent to which and time period over which plastic may be mineralized. Disposal is becoming a major issue with the increasing use of plastics, and the results of this test method may permit an estimation of the degree of biodegradability and the time period over which plastics will remain in an aerobic soil environment. This test method determines the degree of aerobic biodegradation by measuring evolved carbon dioxide as a function of time that the plastic is exposed to soil.
Soil is an extremely species-rich source of inoculum for evaluation of the biodegradability of plastics in the environment. When maintained appropriately with regard to moisture content and oxygen availability, the biological activity is quite considerable, although lower than other biologically active environments, such as activated sewage-sludge or compost. Soil is also the application target for composted materials, and therefore the biodegradability of such materials should be evaluated in the soil environment after the materials have been composted. A mixture of soil and mature compost containing composted plastic material (as obtained after performing Test Method D 5338
1.1 This test method covers determination of the degree and rate of aerobic biodegradation of synthetic plastic materials (including formulation additives that may be biodegradable) in contact with soil, or a mixture of soil and mature compost, under laboratory conditions.
1.2 This test method is designed to rate the biodegradability of plastic materials relative to a standard in an aerobic environment.
1.3 This test method is designed to be applicable to all plastic materials that are not inhibitory to the bacteria and fungi present in soil and compost.
1.4 The values stated in SI units are to be regarded as the standard.
1.5 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. A specific hazard statement is given in Section 8.
1.6 This ASTM test method is equivalent to ISO 17556:2003.