Cleaning and Sanitation Products

What is Biodegradable ?

SCS Global Services’ Biodegradable Certification is specific for liquid and powder cleaning and personal care products. Concerns about the health of the earth's rivers, lakes, and oceans has generated enormous interest in products which biodegrade in water. This standard is designed to verify that products degrade efficiently under worst-case circumstances and that chemicals are not entering the environment at such a rate that they reach harmful concentrations before degradation can occur. SCS does not certify products that contain phosphates because of potential contribution to eutrophication of rivers, ponds, and other receiving waters. Testing of biodegradability from an external ISO/IEC 17025 accredited laboratory is often necessary. Ready Biodegradability of the formulation as well as the components must be ensured. Biodegradability certification gives consumers and facility managers confidence that those cleaning and sanitation products biodegrade fully and harmlessly in the environment.

Why Choose SCS?

SCS is a global leader in third party certification for nearly 40 years. Early pioneers in sustainability standards and auditing, SCS’ Biodegradability Standard for soaps, detergents and cleaning products has provided market differentiation for over 20 years. Manufacturers can build consumer confidence and help products stand out in a crowded market. Display of the SCS Biodegradable Certification logo demonstrates your environmental stewardship and ensures water resources will not be impacted by the use of certified products. Based on our Quality Assurance Customer Surveys, SCS stands out for the exceptional quality of our work; the ethics, reliability, and thoroughness of our auditors; and our quick response and follow-up to all inquiries and ongoing requests for information.

  • Process
  • FAQs
  • Program Documents
  1. Data Collection and Analysis

    Your auditor helps you assemble your data and documentation. We review your information to determine if conformance is achieved and the nature of your claim. Your auditor analyzes your data to determine whether biodegradability or aquatic toxicity testing is needed. If so, your auditor recommends products and laboratories for testing.

  2. Draft Assessment Report

    Your auditor writes a draft assessment report that details the findings of the audit, including data analysis, non-conformities, and opportunities for improvement. You are required to respond to any non-conformities with a root cause analysis and corrective action.

  3. Internal Peer Review and Client Review

    A qualified SCS lead auditor reviews the report, making any necessary corrections or changes. The report is sent to you for review, and you may comment on the information contained in the report and the conclusions drawn by the auditor.

  4. Corrective Actions

    You respond to any non-conformities with a Corrective Action Plan. You may also make comments and responses to the information contained in the report and the conclusions drawn by the auditor.

  5. Certification Decision

    If certification is granted, SCS will issue the certificate(s), logos, and final report to you. Once certified, your company and products will be listed on the SCS Certified Green Products Guide. SCS can also provide limited marketing support. SCS can also provide client marketing support.

  6. Certification Maintenance and Renewal

    Certification is valid for one year. SCS requires annual audits to maintain your certification and support continual improvement.

What products qualify for SCS biodegradable certification?

SCS certifies biodegradable liquid cleaning products - liquid soaps, detergents, degreasers, and cleansers. In addition to being biodegradable, products must not contain phosphates or be toxic to aquatic species. SCS only certifies products that meet the OECD's definition of "Ready Biodegradability".

What is a biodegradable material?

Biodegradable materials break down into smaller compounds via biological activity. Microbial organisms transform the chemicals through metabolic or enzymatic processes. Biodegradation processes vary greatly, but the final product of aerobic degradation usually is carbon dioxide (CO2), water, and minerals (salts). Other gases (e.g., N2 or H2S) may also result.

What is the difference between biodegradable and compostable?

Biodegradable - biodegrades under aerobic conditions when released into the environment (e.g. soil or water) and results in CO2, water, and minerals. Usually used for liquid products.

Compostable - biodegrades under aerobic conditions in a controlled environment (e.g., municipal and industrial composting facilities) at a rate similar to known compostable items (e.g., food), and results in a relatively homogeneous and stable humus-like substance. Usually used for solid products.

Does SCS provide certification support?

SCS provides ongoing program support, including staff assistance, marketing and promotional support, and information about new or revised requirements. Certified clients will receive information about the use of the SCS Kingfisher certification marks for both on-product and off-product promotions.

File Name Document
Biodegradability English

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Karen Righthand