Have some questions? Feels like you are lost in a forest of information? Let us help.

Where is Refresh Packaging based out of?

Canada! Our head office is located in Calgary, AB.

What are these products made of?

All of our products are made from plant products. Our bags are mainly made from a non-food grade derivative of corn, meaning they don’t take from food stocks but are made completely free of petroleum products. Some of our products also contain paper or bamboo. One thing’s for sure though – there’s absolutely no plastic in sight!

What do all these certifications mean?

Let’s get into it. Our products are all certified compostable, with a single product carrying up to five certifications at once. But what do each of these mean? 


This is the most common and well-known North American certification body. BPI (or Biodegradable Products Institute) is a third-party agency that performs unbiased testing of products against recognized standards. If one of our products carries the BPI logo, it means that the product has been tested by the BPI and has been proven to adhere to ASTM D6400 standards.

ASTM D6400

This is an American standard for compostability of products like ours. The standard has a lot of pretty strict requirements that are broken down into exact testing standards and numbers but the three general points are:

  • Disintegration
      • After 84 days of composting, at least 90% of the material must have disappeared after passing through a 2mm sieve
  • Biodegradation
      • At least 90% of the organic carbon in the original material must be converted to carbon dioxide and all components of the material must demonstrate satisfactory degradation.
  • Ecotoxicity
      • Germination rate and plant biomass of plants grown in the compost containing the test material must be no less than 90% of that grown in compost containing none of the material
      • Concentrations of regulated metals in compost containing the test material must be less than 50% of those allowed for compost in the country where it is sold

TÜV OK Compost Industrial

This is an Austrian certification that indicates that a product has been tested and confirmed to conform to EN 13432 standards.


This is another European certification that also indicates a product has been proven to conform to EN 13432 standards. By carrying both the OK Compost Industrial certification and the Seedling certification, we ensure maximum recognition by consumers worldwide.

EN 13432

This is the European standard setting out the minimum requirements for packaging to be composted in an industrial composting facility. The main points for this standard are very similar to that of ASTM D6400:

  • Disintegration
      • After 12 weeks, biowaste must contain less than 10% of the test material’s original mass
  • Biodegradation
      • 90% conversion of material to CO2 must be achieved in less than 6 months
  • Absence of negative effects on the composting process
  • Heavy metal levels below given maximums
      • No reduction of agronomic value
      • No ecotoxicological effects on plant growth


This Austrian certification does not refer to a specific standard but rather acts as the basis for multiple other standards, including AS 5810. The general requirements for a product to receive this certification are similar to those outlined for EN 13432, but require the results to occur under lower temperature conditions. Since backyard/home composting systems typically do not reach the same high temperatures as an industrial system, it is necessary to ensure that the product will still break down under these tougher conditions. Whereas an industrial composting system typically reaches temperatures of 50°C – 60°C, this certification requires that composting occur in temperatures between 20°C – 30°C, which are much more realistic for a home compost system to achieve.

  • Biodegradation
      • Must achieve 90% degradation as per EN 13432
  • Disintegration
      • 90% of the length and 90% of the width of the sample (corresponding to 81% of the test material surface) must have disappeared by the end of the test (maximum of 6 months)
  • Compost Quality (Ecotoxicity)
      • As per EN 13432 standards
  • Chemical Characteristics
      • As per EN 13432 standards

ABA Home

This is an Australian certification that verifies that a product conforms to AS 5810 standards.

AS 5810

This Australian standard is loosely based on the OK Compost HOME standard and features four main components:

  • Characterization
      • All components of the product, including materials, thicknesses, presence of metals and hazardous substances, and more, are first determined
  • Biodegradability
      • The material must degrade by at least 90% after a period of 12 months
  • Disintegration
      • After 180 days, no more than 10% of the original dry weight of the material can be present after passing through a 2mm sieve
  • Compost Quality
      • The quality of compost produced following the composting process must not be negatively impacted by the presence of the material being tested
  • Ecotoxicity
      • Testing is done on plant samples that use compost with and without the material being tested. The germination rate and plant biomass of the sample using compost containing the material must be more than 90% of that of the control.
      • There cannot be greater than a 10% difference in morbidity or mean weight of worms between the two samples

ABA Industrial

This is another Australian certification, and it verifies that a product has been tested and proven to conform to AS 4736 standards.

AS 4736

Similar to many of the other standards we’ve spoken about, this one sets out the minimum requirements for a product to be suitable for industrial composting.

  • Biodegradability
      • Minimum of 90% biodegradation within 180 days
  • Disintegration
      • Minimum of 90% disintegration into less than 2mm pieces within 12 weeks
  • Ecotoxicity
      • Earthworms exposed to compost containing the test material must experience no adverse effects compared to those exposed to compost without the material
      • Heavy metals cannot exceed maximum allowed levels
  • Organic Content
      • Test material should contain more than 50% organic materials
What does certified compostable mean, and is it different than biodegradable?

Great question. While everything that is certified compostable is also biodegradable, not everything that is biodegradable is certified compostable. All that “biodegradable” means is that a product will break down into SOMEthing after SOME period of time, with the help of microorganisms. This means it could theoretically take 400 years and break down into micro-plastics – not great.

For something to be certified compostable, it has to have undergone third-party testing by an accredited laboratory proving that it will break down into non-toxic byproducts in a set period of time. For example, ASTM-D6400 is a certification that stipulates that a product breaks down into valuable soil nutrients within 84 days or less in a composting facility. This is typically tested by a third-party organization such as BPI (Biodegradable Products Institute). Fun fact: our products all contain a minimum of one worldwide compostability certification, and our compostable bags carry 5!

Will these products be accepted in my municipal composting facility?

If your local facility accepts certified compostable garbage bags, they can handle any of our products. All our bags and our cling film use the same material as our compostable garbage bags, just in different forms. However, different municipalities have different rules for what is allowed in their composting programs. Always check your local regulations, as Refresh Packaging will not be liable for any infractions.

Can I wash my zip top bags and use them again?

Absolutely! These bags are thick and durable and can be washed out and reused as you please. Washing the bags won’t cause them to dissolve or decompose before their time.

Why are my bags starting to tear?

While compostable bags are very strong, they are not meant to last forever. This is the big difference between our bags and plastic, and is probably why you’re looking to buy ours in the first place. Because they’re designed to break down over time, if you keep your bags for a long time, they will begin to tear more easily and stick together a bit more. Typically, compostable bags last about 1-2 years from production before they’ll start to fail. Always keep an eye on the production dates printed on the boxes to make sure you can use your bags in time.

How do I order a stock product?

We have lots of stock products that you can order right through our website by clicking the Shop Online tab in our dropdown menu. You can also reach out to us using our web form or email us at info@refreshpackaging.ca to place an order. We’ll just need a shipping address and then we can send you an invoice through email that you can easily pay online via credit card. If you’re not sure whether a product is available as stock for you to order in small quantities, just reach out and ask – we’re happy to help!

I can't meet the minimum order quantities (MOQs), what can I do?

Our custom products all have minimum order quantities because we produce the product from scratch specially for you. If you’re not able to meet those MOQs though, don’t worry! We have lots of stock products in set sizes with generic branding that you can buy on a case-by-case basis. We’re also always expanding and looking for feedback from customers like you about which products and sizes you’d like to see stocked in the future. Just let us know through our web form or through email at info@refreshpackaging.ca.

Are these allowed where I live?

We certainly hope so! However, we sell our products worldwide, and are not able to monitor the individual laws and regulations of every place where they may be purchased or used. Therefore, always check your local regulations as Refresh Packaging will not be liable for any infractions that may occur.