Compostable plastic labeling requirements

Washington’s Plastic Product Degradability Law sets marketing claim standards for compostable products sold and distributed in the state. Producers are also required to declare their products with our agency. This law intends to reduce misleading labeling practices and support compost facilities who may choose to accept these materials as feedstocks.

This law applies to all compostable products sold and distributed in Washington:

  • Film bags and other film products
  • Food and non-food packaging
  • Food service products
  • Packing materials including packing peanuts

Products made only from wood or another fiber-based material are not subject to the labeling rules.

As of Jan. 1, 2024, compostable plastics products must meet the labeling standards and be declared by a producer with our agency. The producer must declare, under penalty of perjury, that the product meets the standards established for that product. Product information should added or updated for new or materially changed products.

Requirements for products labeled compostable

Plastic products labeled as “compostable” that are sold, offered for sale, or distributed in Washington must now: 

  • Meet ASTM D6400 or D6868 specifications, or be made of wood 
    • Meeting these standards means that products: Disintegrate sufficiently during composting, undergo some level of biodegradation, and do not impair the compost's fertility or introduce toxic substances.
  • Meet specific labeling requirements based on the type of product (see chart below).

  • Be included in a declaration of compliance listing each compostable product sold or distributed in Washington.

  • Must be readily and easily identifiable
  • Meet ASTM Standards D6400
  • Be labeled with third party certification logo
  • Entire item can be green, beige, or brown
  • Be labeled with word “compostable” on both sides, and
    • In 1-inch green, beige, or brown lettering on both sides, OR
    • In a 1-inch band that is green, beige, or brown with one-half-inch color contrasting lettering
  • No use of the chasing arrow 
  • No use of recycling symbol
  • Submit producer declaration via Ecology database
  • Must be readily and easily identifiable
  • Meet an ASTM standards D6400 and D6868
  • Be labeled with third party certification logo 
  • Labeled with the word compostable
  • Partially colored/tinted green, beige or brown or have a green, beige or brown stripe or band 0.25 inch wide
  • Submit producer declaration via Ecology database
  • Must be readily and easily identifiable
  • Meet an ASTM standards D6400 and D6868
  • Be labeled with third party certification logo 
  • Labeled with the word compostable
  • Partially colored/tinted green, beige or brown or have a green, beige or brown stripe or band 0.25 inch wide
  • Submit producer declaration via Ecology database

What about non-compostable products?

Manufacturers or suppliers of products that do not meet ASTM standards are: 

  • Prohibited from using labeling and terms that are required for compostable products. Producers of non-compostable film bags are also prohibited from using the color schemes and tinting required of compostable products. 
  • Discouraged from using tinting, coloration, or images that confuse consumers into believing that non-compostable items are compostable.
  • Encouraged to use coloration, labeling, images, and terms that help consumers identify non-compostable items as recyclable or waste.

No products (including compostables) can use similar terms like “biodegradable,” “degradable,” “oxo-degradable,” etc.

Frequently asked questions