European standard EN 12580

Determining the volume of raw materials and growing media is one of the most discussed issues in the substrate and potting soil industry. The packaged volume often causes some misunderstanding and confusion between supplier and customer. The indication of volume on BB bags is always the volume according to the European EN 12580 standard. Today, the European standard EN 12580 is applied by all professional manufacturers of peat products to ensure the same volume is packed. This is the volume of peat at the moment of filling the bags. Due to compaction, after packing the peat, the volume during use may vary – may be slightly lower.

Today, in the substrate and potting soil industry, the measurement of bulk density is carried out in accordance with the European standard 12580. In 2000, the growing media industry in Europe agreed that peat and potting soil trade measurements must be based on bulk density, which is based on weight, not volume.

The bulk density is determined according to the EN 12580 standard. Bulk Density times weight gives ENm³. The equation ‘ENm³-volume instead of m³-volume (water-volume). When following the ENm³ method – avoid discussion about volume and refute any accusations about incorrect calculations. For all Growing Media produced by SIA Zelta Zeme, the volume is measured in accordance with European Standard EN 12580. The standard specifies the procedure to be used for measuring the volume of peat products which are supplied in bulk or as packaged products. The quantity indication refers to the quantity at the time of production.

Set for measurement of EN volume by hand. Photo:

Peat products are delivered on a volume basis. It is very important that the measurement method EN 12580 is carried out completely correctly to ensure accuracy. The European standard EN 12580 describes in detail how to measure the bulk density of raw materials and potting soil. According to the method, sieves (fall controllers) with different mesh widths (20, 40 or 60mm) are used. An appropriate fall controller must be selected, depending on the product you want to measure. The purpose of the fall controller is to prevent the soil from falling from such a height that the material already in the cylinder would be compressed due to the impact of the falling soil. In addition, the fall controller also regulates the amount of material that can fall into the cylinder as a whole at a given time. Thanks to this method, the cylinder is filled homogeneously.

EN density = M3-M4/V

M3 – EN cylinder filled with sample
M4 – EN cylinder empty
V1  – EN cylinder volume



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