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The public’s awareness of the environment is growing, especially with the support of authorities, exposure from the media, and the persistent campaigns of concerned environmental groups. In addition to product safety, consumers are now looking for “green” products as well.

In the cosmetics industry, one of the environmental challenges that manufacturers face is the biodegradability of wash-off products like bath gels, shampoos and conditioners. These products usually contain synthetic detergents, and with large amounts being discharged into the sewage system, it poses a risk to aquatic life and to the aquatic environment. More and more consumers prefer products that are readily biodegradable, which in turn cause less harm to the environment.

The term “biodegradable” refers to materials that are able to decompose into simpler substances by a natural process, usually through microorganisms. Most compounds are biodegradable; however, the issue lies in the amount of time it takes to break down the material. Products that are easily degradable are considered environmentally friendly.

Microorganisms oxidize organic waste into carbon dioxide and water to obtain energy. Therefore, one way to study the rate of biodegradability is by measuring the carbon dioxide produced. Suitable microorganisms are mixed with a testing sample and incubated in a carbon dioxide-free environment. The carbon dioxide produced is captured and measured at different time intervals. The duration of the study depends on product property and claimed rate.

SGS can help test for biodegradability to show that a product is green and ecologically friendly.
Download the PDF version of the Biodegradable Testing for Environment-Friendly Bath Products. (PDF 80 KB)

For more information, you may contact:
Man MakLife Science
t + 852 2609 9611 (ext 3356)
f + 852 2603 7577
Man ChanHardlines
t + 852 2774 7168
f + 852 2646 0026

About SGS

SGS is the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company. SGS is recognized as the global benchmark for quality and integrity. With more than 75,000 employees, SGS operates a network of over 1,500 offices and laboratories around the world.