January 5, 2016​

WIST compostability testing laboratory achieves
ISO 17025 certification​

Confirming the quality with which WIST operates it Compostability Testing Laboratory, the ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board (ANAB) has certified that the lab meets ISO 17025 standards. 

"This certification is a strong endorsement of the professionalism of our staff and the care we take with our work," said Paul Fowler, WIST executive director. "This achievement is the result of a team effort and a commitment to quality all the way through our organization." 

The rigorous certification process actually took more than a year, as WIST staff examined every aspect of the testing laboratory and drafted a quality policy manual and standard operating procedures, created a records-keeping system and upgraded equipment where needed. As part of the process all lab personnel completed third-party proficiency testing. An ANAB assessor then audited the laboratory over several days in October and recommended certification. 

Amber Davidson, manager of the compostability testing lab, said the certification is good news for the lab and for its customers. "Having the policies and procedures manual really assures that no matter which of our staff is working on a particular task, we know it will be done the same way every time and done in a top-quality way," Davidson said. "Our customers can have complete confidence in our test results." 

The WIST Compostability Testing Laboratory determines whether materials compost under industrial composting conditions. The full protocol includes a disintegration test, a biodegradation test and a plant toxicity test, and may take up to 180 days to complete. WIST currently has several trials underway. 

Compostability is one way in which packaging companies are meeting demand for biodegradable packaging. Although a relatively small part of the overall market, biodegradable packaging is a rapidly growing segment, with one report predicting a compound annual growth rate of 18.05% through 2019. 

As companies seek to market products as compostable it is important to have third-party support for those claims. The Federal Trade Commission's Green Guides advise that companies "need competent and reliable scientific evidence" to support compostability claims. WIST Compostability Testing Laboratory can provide that evidence. 

For more information about the lab or to discuss a testing project for your business, contact Amber Davidson via email at Amber.Davidson@uwsp.edu or by phone at 715-346-2671.