Ashland has developed in-house biodegradation testing capabilities. We are able to inform our customers of the biodegradation profiles of our materials/products and make the following distinctions:
Beginning three years ago, Ashland has tested more than 100 samples applying one of the various OECD validated “screening” assessments. More than half of our final products or R&D formulations in the personal care market, and more than 30 for industrial and energy applications have undergone this process. Ashland’s commitment to biodegradation testing and products has led us to partnerships with several of our customers, both to share knowledge and refine each other’s understanding of sustainability and environmental impacts. Consequently, we have been able to collaborate on specific projects that meet our customers’ needs for developing formulations with enhanced biodegradation profiles. Our internal testing capabilities allows us to quickly determine the best solutions for these new technologies.
In 2022, we continued to conduct biodegradability testing at our Bradford, UK, site, to expand our understanding of our product impact on the environment. This testing enables us to support customers with data on our existing and new product formulation and meet international standards for biodegradability. Our goal is to increase our portfolio of biodegradable product offerings and sustainable product lines. We are continuously advancing our capabilities to expand our range of innovative, sustainable product lines.
We have four aquatic biodegradation assays currently available in Bradford: OECD 301F and OECD 301D for readily biodegradable, OECD 302B for inherent biodegradability, and OECD 306 for seawater biodegradability.
During fiscal year 2022, 15 new commercial products and 152 products in trial/development stages project materials were tested utilizing one or more of the assays.
Ashland validated composting biodegradation according to ASTM D5338, and conducted testing on 67 products.
In 2022, Ashland expanded environmental testing to include compostability testing according to ASTM D5338. As we seek to provide our customers with better information on the environmental fate of our product offerings, compostability is an important consideration for our customers and suppliers providing sustainable packaging and home care products, beyond biodegradability. We hope to utilize this testing to continue to better understand how our specialty chemicals are and can be increasingly sustainable throughout their useful life. In 2022, we assessed 67 products for compostability.
Our R&D teams use this data to support claims for new product launches and better understand the environmental impact of our products. To date, through a combination of internal testing, analyzing/ reviewing historical biodegradation results, assessment of structural and physiochemical compositions, and read-across acceptability, our teams have determined biodegradation classification for 350 materials in the Ashland portfolio and compostability classification for an additional 67 products.
biodegradation testing equipment at our Bradford, UK research and development (R&D) facility