Magazine • Testing Reusable Tableware: Advancing the Circular Economy and Sustainable Alternatives to Single-Use Products


Testing Reusable Tableware: Advancing the Circular Economy and Sustainable Alternatives to Single-Use Products


Testing standard for reusable plastic tableware

The international standard UNE 53928:2020 on Plastics - Reusable Plastic Tableware for Food Use governs product labeling, specifying the minimum number of dishwashing cycles a product can endure, effectively emphasizing the reusability of the tested tableware.

The primary objective of this standard is to align with the provisions of Directive (EU) 2019/904, enacted by the European Parliament and Council on June 5, 2019. This directive focuses on mitigating the environmental repercussions of specific plastic products. It is designed to curtail waste generation and its associated environmental impact. Additionally, the directive encourages the transition from single-use tableware to reusable alternatives, serving as a catalyst for the development of a genuine circular economy within the plastics sector.

Reduction of waste generation and its impact

Accredited tests enable manufacturers of reusable plastic tableware to classify their products as reusable and specify the number of wash cycles these products can endure. The standard assigns the responsibility for determining the number of cycles a product can effectively withstand to the manufacturer. However, it is essential to emphasize that a product must endure at least five wash cycles to qualify as "reusable."

Furthermore, the standard underscores the significance of a successful outcome in the testing process, with the inspection criteria being of utmost importance. Following the washing resistance tests, the standard recommends repeating migration tests to verify compliance with the limits outlined in Regulation 10/2011 regarding plastic materials and articles intended for food contact. This approach ensures that reusable plastic tableware not only reduces waste generation but also adheres to food safety regulations even after undergoing multiple wash cycles.

In the AIMPLAS facilities it is possible to carry out dishwasher resistance tests on reusable kitchenware, as well as the rest of the tests necessary to guarantee food safety throughout its useful life. ENAC's audit of AIMPLAS laboratories has resulted in an expansion of AIMPLAS's accreditation scope, now including UNE 53928:2020.