Testing Tree Hugger.
The composition of the Tree Hugger tree shelter (or guard) has been tested using SEM (Scanning Electron Microscope) and EDX (Energy Dispersive X-Ray). Neither analysis has revealed hazardous or toxic elements within the composite material. It is classed as inert with no risk to soil or wildlife.
Material testing included:
- Long term on site field trials throughout the UK with major planters
- Heavy metal/VOC analysis*
- Light spectrum analysis*
* Tested to ISO 20200 and ISO 489202 standards to provide a meaningful indication of operating life. This isn’t ideal – methods relate to plastics and Tree Hugger doesn’t contain any plastic. As such, we tailored the test requirements and conditions to meet the real life requirements of the tree shelter once deployed and throughout its working life.
Ongoing sustainability testing
BMP has achieved a number of ISO standards that uphold overall quality standards.
- ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management
- ISO 14001:2015 Environmental Management
- ISO 45001:2018 Health & Safety
However, because Tree Hugger is one of a kind, they’re not quite enough to support what we’re aiming for. For example, the ISO standard that can be applied to a biodegradable bag cites a 90-day cycle of degradation. If Tree Hugger was designed to this standard, it couldn’t do its job because the tree needs protection for a number of years.
We’re trying to address the unsuitability of some standards for sustainable products. Our lab is testing tensile strengths and how the product biodegrades to provide a fuller picture of its superior sustainability, which we’re happy to share.
Working life assessment
Tree Hugger has been taken from concept to market in a short space of time, yet we claim its life span is at least 5 years. We also say it will return to the earth once its job is done. How do we know?
We are running an ongoing biodegradation assessment. The test methods are in full compliance with BS EN ISO 20200: 2015. Testing will determine the degree of degradation throughout a Tree Hugger’s working life.
Material tensile/tear properties
BMP Europe has extensive experience of assessing materials using tensile and tear properties. Using BS ISO 37: 2017 and BS ISO 34-1: 2015 test methods, we can establish the properties of our Tree Hugger material at start of life and periodically throughout its working life. This assessment will establish the strength of the material and its suitability in protecting new growth trees.
Biodegraded tensile properties
As the Tree Huggers will be deployed outdoors, BMP has developed a hybrid test that incorporates the conditions detailed within BS EN ISO 20200: 2015, but utilising tensile and tear test pieces to determine the effects of biodegradation on these properties.
BMP also has thousands of Tree Huggers deployed in the field – with organisations like The Woodland Trust, National Trust and Trees for Life. Test samples will be removed and tested to compare laboratory tests with real world material tests. Tests are carried out, ongoing, on a monthly basis.