The Compost Manufacturing Alliance (CMA) Field Testing Program


Samples and profiles for next testing round are due Friday, October 5, 2018.
Contact for inclusion in the next test.  

Compostability Field Testing, Substrate Review and Product Development Services 

As cities, businesses and residents strive for zero waste, the use of compostable food service ware is increasing. Cedar Grove and members of the Compost Manufacturing Alliance (CMA) work to support these programs while maintaining a high standard of compost quality across 20 composting facilities throughout the U.S. To accomplish higher food waste diversion and minimize contamination in urban feed stocks, CMA and its affiliated partners provide a program of technical review and field testing of compostable products to determine their true feasibility as food related feed stock when shipped to fully permitted industrial composting facilities.

Items submitted for CMA field testing include bags, utensils, plates, bowls, clamshells, wraps and more. As new products are developed to meet growing market demands, CMA provides the expertise to determine how well the products will break down in modern, large scale compost manufacturing technologies. For general questions about this, please contact: or call 360-329-4281.

Requirements for CMA Testing and Substrate Review

To submit items for CMA testing, please note the following requirements:

  • You must be the manufacturer (or an authorized agent for the manufacturer)
  • Items must be related to food service or yard waste collection
  • Guidelines below must be followed

Other Technologies Available for Testing Trials (please visit for updates on facilities and locations)

Testing trials occur every month and/or when enough samples are collected to constitute a testing round.  Testing technologies in the cycle include:

  • In-vessel, positive aeration, membrane laminate technology (Gore)
  • Aerated static pile
  • Mass bed
  • Turned windrows
  • Agitated continuous flow systems
  • Others as requested

(Note that CMA only offers testing in aerobic compost manufacturing facilities.  Anaerobic digestion is a distinctively different and separate technology than composting, and CMA does not offer testing in these types of units).

Submission guidelines:

Include three (3) to five (5) samples for each item submitted per technology test and include a unique Identification Number written on at least one of the items. (EXAMPLE- if you are testing in ASP and WINDROW, send three to five samples for each technology to cover both tests, or 10 samples in total.


Compostable Food Service Products

A minimum fee will be charged for up to ten (10) food service items submitted for testing based on each testing technology.

Fees Unit

Items Per Batch

$3,750 Per Test batch (or $375 per item for 10 items)

Up to 10

Compostable Kitchen Bucket and Collection Container Liners

A minimum fee will be charged for up to three (3) compostable bag liner(s) submitted for testing.

Fees Unit

*Items Per Batch

$1,125 Per Test Batch

Up to 3

*You may submit smallest to largest size, along with lowest and highest mil thickness to cover all sizes and thicknesses in your product line.

Paper and Wood Items Substrate Review

Please inquire for fees associated with food service items submitted for technical analysis only. This would include items such as wood stir sticks, paper napkins, unvarnished and uncoated paperboard, etc.

Questions should be sent to

Prerequisites for Field Testing:

Category A: Items must meet ASTM D6400 or EN 13432 standards for bioplastics, co-polymers, PLA coated paperboard and paper, and other similar items

Fill out the attached profile for all groups of items submitted.  Please print out profile and sign.  Profiles can be sent via email in pdf file format to Include BPI certification or ASTM lab results on finished product. Note that ASTM lab results must include:

  • Heavy Metals Analysis
  • Spectral Analysis
  • Phytoxicity
  • Biodegradation

Category B: Items that meet ASTM D6868 requirements for plastics used as coatings on compostable substrates and fibrous materials.

Fill out the attached profile for all groups of items submitted.  Please print out profile and sign.  Profiles can be sent via email in pdf file format to

Include BPI certification or ASTM lab results on finished product (note that ASTM lab results must include:

  • Heavy Metals Analysis
  • Spectral Analysis
  • Phytoxicity
  • Biodegradation

* *Category C: Items that may not match substrates covered under ASTM D6400 and D6868 standards (such as paper towels, napkins, wood, uncoated or clay coated paperboard, and other similar items that are not bioplastics, molded fiber, coated papers, or PLA/paperboard composites).

Fill out the attached profile for all groups of items submitted.  Please print out profile and sign.  Profiles can be sent via email in pdf file format to

I addition to the profile, send MSDS on any inks, coatings, or treatments (Note: If MSDS reports show hazardous properties, also send FDA approval for direct food contact).

** After technical review, items may require field testing if information on product is not adequate to determine acceptability.  A staff team member will contact you for testing authorization prior to submitting it for field testing.

Other Testing and Technical Services:

Pre-ASTM Product Testing

If you have specific products currently pending ASTM results, our program offers expedited and concurrent field testing.  If the product(s) meet the disintegration requirements at the end of the testing cycle, you may then submit BPI certification or ASTM results showing that you have met the additional compostability specifications. With confirmation of ASTM results and acceptable field disintegration results, you will then receive an acceptance and inclusion on Cedar Grove's published list, as well as a listing for other CMA technologies once the website is developed for other technologies (coming in 2018).

Cost:      $4750.00 (up to 5 samples or prototypes; each addl., $795.00)

Note- All testing fees must be paid at time of sample submission.

Service Includes:

Field testing
Pass/fail report
Official confirmation/denial or acceptance

Product and Substrate Research Testing

Research testing is designed to test a variety of products or prototypes that may have slight differences in composition.  You can run up to five different substrates, components or specific items and product prototypes per testing batch. If you have questions on research testing please contact

Cost:      $4995 (up to 5 samples or prototypes; each addl., $1350)

Service Includes:

  • Field testing
  • Detailed written report with information on the variable and comparative breakdown of each “recipe”/prototype sample

Optional one hour debrief/report review

(Note: this test can also be done as a preliminary ASTM disintegration test).

All documentation from these test results must accompany samples and/or be tied by unique Identification Number and submitted electronically.

Where to submit samples, paperwork and payments:

Samples and All Related Documents Make Checks Payable and Send To:

CMA Testing Center

c/o Susan Thoman

1771 Vista Rama Dr. E.

Port Orchard, WA 98366


Compost Manufacturing Alliance

P.O. Box 1063

Port Orchard, WA 98366

All required items and documentation must be received by the 5th business day of the month (or any date designated by CMA's testing department) to be submitted in that month’s testing round. Protocols and requirements may change at our discretion.

Please e-mail any questions or comments you may have to:

Our team strives to answer all questions in a timely and professional manner.

Protocol to submit on behalf of a product manufacturer

To avoid repeated testing of the same products, and to ensure the accuracy of the information submitted, we require that only the product manufacturer completes the profile form. If a private label company would like to submit information for testing of products, the submission must be accompanied with a letter from the manufacturer stating that the information provided on the profile form is true and correct and gives authorization for all testing information to be provided to the authorized agent representing them.

Use of Cedar Grove, CMA or CMA logo prohibited without valid consent and agreement

The testing of an item and an indication of acceptance does NOT authorize ANY use of any of Compost Manufacturing Alliance or Cedar Grove logos, trademarks, trade names, letterhead or company name on products, web sites, on the inner or outer packaging of any products, or on marketing materials related to such items. Any such uses can be authorized, at our discretion, and only in pursuant to a formal written license agreement through the Compost Manufacturing Alliance or Cedar Grove Composting. To learn more about logo use, please write to

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