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Biodegradability - for a holistic view of sustainability.

What happens at a product's end of its life?

A holistic view of sustainability focuses not only on manufacturing and safety, but also on the end of the product life cycle and its impact. If it isn't reused, recycled or upcycled in some way, textiles often end up in a landfill or compost, affecting the surrounding soil and water systems.

Take control of your impact.

Biodegradation (biodegradability) Testing

Turn the end into a new beginning.

To ensure that products are biodegradable and do not leach toxins into the environment, Hohenstein developed a test specifically for textile products.

Hohenstein's biodegradation tests use controlled soil burial over a defined test period. This method is based on international standards that determine the decomposition and degradation behavior of materials.

The results allow you to determine the decay process and environmental impact of a textile while transparently demonstrating that you have considered its entire life cycle.

Textile Biodegradability Test Method

ISO - Basis Test Methods

Customized Testing Based on Standardized Methods

The Hohenstein test method was developed in accordance with the following standards:

  • DIN EN ISO 11721-1: Textiles - Determination of resistance of cellulose containing textiles to micro-organisms - Soil burial test - Part 1: Assessment of rot-retardant finishing
  • DIN EN ISO 846: Plastics - Evaluation of the action of microorganisms on plastics
What We Test

Product and Impact Assessments

  • The mass loss of the textile:
    Examining the the decay process of a product by micro-organisms like fungi and bacteria in combination with oxygen in the soil
  • The ecotoxicological safety of the textile:
    Determining the impact to the environment with cress and earthworm tests
How We Test

Controlled Conditions

The tests can be carried out either under defined laboratory conditions or under practical outdoor conditions (exposed to the climate). Under laboratory conditions, incubation takes place in standardized test containers under constant climatic conditions.

We use standardized test soil under aerobic conditions, whereby the biological activity is monitored using a reference sample.

Sampling and sample cleaning are carried out after three defined excavation dates (these can be set based on the product).

After a specified test period, the test samples are evaluated for degradation rate based on qualitative determination of the the mass loss.

Furthermore, we check the environmental compatibility or environmental pollution caused by the product's degradation with ecotoxicological tests and optional chemical analyses.


Biodegradability tests are used in sourcing, product development, claim verification and quality assurance.

by textile manufacturers, finishers, brands and retailers
  • Objective measurement of biodegradability in soil
  • Verification of marketing claims
  • Product optimization and sourcing based on data
  • Labeling of biodegradable textile products with a Hohenstein Quality Label (B2C) or Hohenstein certificate (B2B)
  • Determination of product's risk to the environment
  • Quality assurance based on ecotoxicological considerations
Microfiber Biodegradation


DIN SPEC 4872 is a standardized test method for determining the environmental impact of textiles during washing. We examine how many fibers are discharged when textiles are washed, how well the fibers break down in wastewater and how harmful the fiber residues are for the environment.

Reduce Microfiber Impact

Hohenstein Quality Label

3rd party claim support for biodegradable textiles and products.

The Hohenstein Quality Label - Biodegradable - is awarded for products whose remnants are classified as ecotoxicologically safe.


Ben Mead
Managing Director
Hohenstein Americas