China China drafting national standards for biodegradable materials and products

China drafting national standards for biodegradable materials and products

On April 29, 2021, State Administration for Market Regulation of China released drafts of 2 recommended national standards GB/T, “Biodegradable drinking straws” and “Degradability and identification requirements of biodegradable materials and products”, and both of them are open to comments until May 31, 2021. The summary of each draft is as follows.


Draft National Standard on biodegradable drinking straws

The standard specifies the definition, classification, technical requirements, measurement methods, labeling, packaging, transportation and storage of biodegradable drinking straws.


Draft National Standard on degradability and identification requirements of biodegradable materials and products

The standard specifies the degradation performance and labeling of biodegradable materials and products, the products it applies to are as following.

  • Natural polymer materials
  • Synthetic Polymers
  • Materials containing additives such as plasticizers, pigments or other compounds
  • Mixture of the above mentioned materials
  • Products processed with various biodegradable materials


According to the biodegradation performance requirements stipulated in the standard, the organic content (volatile solids content) of biodegradable materials and products should not be least than 51%, and the content limits of heavy metals and specific elements are as the table below.

Heavy metals and specific elements

Content limits (mg/kg)

Arsenic As


Cadmium Cd


Cobalt Co


Chromium Cr


Copper Cu


Fluorine F


Mercury Hg


Nickel Ni


molybdenum Mo


Lead Pb


Selenium Se


Zinc Zn



In addition, the biodegradable label shall include the following contents, and the following mark (referred to as the JJ mark) shall be used on the product and external packaging. The mark is green basically, but the color can be changed to match the color or design of the product. The format and usage rules of the mark are specified in Appendix 1 of the standard.

  • Material
  • Environmental conditions for decomposition
  • Product standards, degradation measurement method standard and product name


JJ mark


Although the official promulgation dates the two standards above are still undecided, but when they are officially implemented, the JJ Mark will not only apply to plastic products, but also to biodegradable materials and products that meet the standards. Since some contents of the two standards above relate to intellectual property rights, please be careful when using them.

For the original drafts of the two standards above, please refer to the following URL (in simplified Chinese)

Author / Responsibility


Researcher, Research & Consulting Dept. EnviX Ltd.

Business Performance

In charge of Southeast Asia for managing information on the environmental regulations.


BA, Human Life and Environmental Sciences, Ochanomizu University