On March 14, 2019, non-governmental organization ChemSec published the report “The missing piece,” which focuses on chemicals as being “one crucial, but often overlooked part of a circular economy.” The report discusses topics including the business opportunity of a circular economy, product planning and design, supply chain management, the limitations of legal compliance, and reuse and recycling.

The authors argue that “today’s chemicals legislations are not adapted for a sustainable circular economy, as many hazardous chemicals are unregulated and in widespread use.” However, they write that “luckily, a growing number of brands and retailers are realizing that, at the moment, legal compliance is neither a good benchmark for corporate chemicals management nor for a circular economy.” The report authors interviewed a number of companies to ask for their perspective on and actions being taken to transition towards a circular economy, and the report includes answers received from Apple, H&M, Ikea, Coop Denmark, and Sarp Industries. ChemSec writes that “many companies have internal chemical requirements that go beyond legal compliance.”

For companies looking to transition into a circular economy and away from hazardous substances, ChemSec encourages that “the most important thing is to avoid hazardous substances in products and processes altogether – preferably right from the design stage.” Addressing regulators, ChemSec urges that “regulation needs to move faster” and that “strict legislation will not only help avoid legacy substances, but it will also help drive the innovation of new, safer alternatives to hazardous chemicals.”

ChemSec has previously developed both the SIN List (FPF reported) and MarketPlace (FPF reported) online tools to provide information to companies regarding hazardous substances and available alternatives.

Read more

ChemSec (March 14, 2019). “The missing piece – Chemicals in circular economy.”

Leigh Stringer (March 14, 2019). “Prioritize chemicals to achieve circular economy, report says.Chemical Watch