The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is reported to be developing criteria to define ‘sustainable’ plastic in regards to chemicals. According to news provider Chemical Watch, the Chemicals Committee and Working Party on Resource Productivity and Waste within the OECD is expected to create a report by the end of 2020 that offers tools for decision makers to help compare trade-offs among sustainability criteria across the entire life cycle of plastics from product design through end-of-life. It will also advocate against the use of hazardous chemicals.

The report will build on an earlier background paper published in advance of a forum held in Denmark in May 2018 (FPF reported). The background paper advocates for plastic product designers to be informed of “1) the unit processes that make up production and manufacturing, 2) the chemicals used and produced in each unit process, 3) the hazard profiles for those chemicals and information on 4) potential exposures to workers and the surrounding community and environment.” Eeva Leinala from the OECD told Chemical Watch that this upcoming report is one of several plastic-related projects currently underway within the organization. Other efforts include writing a report on member countries’ initiatives on single-use plastics, reviewing options for extended producer responsibility, and investigating sources of microplastics and mitigation strategies. However, Leinala also said that “there has not been recent discussion” about a previous proposal for a global manufacturing restricted list of substances (MRSL) for plastics.

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Ginger Harvey (August 20, 2019). “OECD to set criteria defining sustainable plastics.” Chemical Watch


OECD (May 2019). “Global Forum on Environment – Plastics in a Circular Economy: Design of Sustainable Plastics from a Chemicals Perspective.”