In an article published on February 27, 2019, non-governmental organization (NGO) Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) argued that the issue of toxic chemicals in packaging is not receiving enough attention in discussions about transition to a circular economy. EDF wrote that they are “pleased to see more companies working to eliminate plastic packaging waste from our environment,” but they highlighted that “something is often missing from their statements: commitments for safer packaging free of toxic chemicals.” EDF warned that “when tainted plastic packaging is reused or recycled, these toxic chemicals persist and may accumulate to worrisome levels until the packaging is retired, posing long-term threats to our health.”

The authors commended the recent efforts from companies in advancing the circular economy for packaging such as Walmart (FPF reported) and Nestlé (FPF reported). With one of the six key points within the vision for the New Plastics Economy being that “all plastic packaging is free of hazardous chemicals,” EDF is concerned that “no company has set specific goals to meet this crucial principle.” “Eliminating the use of toxic chemicals in virgin packaging is needed to clean up the recycling stream and protect our food and our families.”

Read more

EDF (February 27, 2019). “A gap remains in the circular economy conversation: Toxic chemicals in packaging.