On August 12, 2021, companies Zume and Solenis announced that they are freely releasing the recipes and manufacturing specifications for their alternative food packaging that is free of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Over the last year, the companies have developed recipes for molded fiber plates, bowls, trays, and clamshells that they claim are biodegradable in commercial compost within 90 days and PFAS-free while maintaining grease and water resistance at high temperatures. They decided to make the process open source so that “all packaging manufacturers can adopt the technique and speed up the removal of harmful chemicals.”
While such alternatives are generally welcomed by stakeholders searching to phase out their use of PFAS, there are still calls for manufacturers of such alternatives to ensure these replacements undergo thorough safety testing to avoid placing regrettable substitutions on the market.
PFAS are added to paper and board food contact materials as a grease and water repellant and are used in the manufacturing of plastic products as a lubricant (FPF reported). It has been well established that PFAS do not degrade in the environment and cause negative health effects (FPF reported also here and here). In response, the substances are beginning to be banned in many regions (FPF reported also here and here).
Zume and Solenis (August 12, 2021). “A PFA-Free Packaging World is Closer Than You Think.”
Jeff Kart (August 12, 2021). “Pack It Up PFAS: Zume and Solenis Are Open-Sourcing A Recipe to Eliminate the Use Of ‘Forever Chemicals’” Forbes