India plans ban on single-use plastic items

Government authority publishes draft ban set to come into force in three phases; would ban import, manufacture, and sale of plastic candy and ice cream sticks after January 1, 2022; expands ban to include plates, cups, cutlery, trays, certain wrapping films after July 1, 2022; proposal open for public comment until May 2021

US CDC releases updated biomonitoring data

New set of data tables from US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) published in four volumes; includes human exposure data for persistent organic pollutants, pesticides, and a focus on exposures of adult cigarette smokers; over 70 new chemicals measured including per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)

Report compares US state recycling rates

Ball Corporation commissioned report compares recycling rates across US states for rigid plastics, glass, aluminum and steel cans, and cardboard for 2018; best overall recycling rates found for Maine (72%); results based on multiple data sources including US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), states, municipalities, waste processors; finds high recycling rates correlate with presence of deposit return systems, curb recycling, extended producer responsibility schemes

2nd Annual Forum on Endocrine Disruptors

Event brings together EU government agencies, research institutions, stakeholders to discuss endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs); program includes presentations, panel discussions, advances in testing methods, actions on EDCs in the ‘Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability ‘

5th retailer report card on chemical safety

‘Mind the Store’ campaign publishes updated report card scoring 50 major North American retailers on their actions to remove toxic chemicals from their products; finds improvement over last year in 70% of companies reviewed, focus has remained on eliminating per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS), ortho-phthalates, and bisphenols from products

Greenpeace advocates reuse over plastic recycling

Greenpeace Switzerland publishes statement and report, criticizes increasing focus on plastic collection and recycling; argues this misleads consumers, hinders implementation of reuse and extended producer responsibility, recommends providing necessary infrastructure, adaptation of logistics, implementing reuse and return models

UN report addresses single-use plastics and LCA

Life Cycle Initiative led by UN Environment publishes synthesis report investigating impacts of single-use plastic products through life cycle assessment (LCA) approach; finds concept of ‘single-use’ more problematic than ‘plastic’; encourages countries to promote and incentivize replacing single-use products with reusable products; keep products at highest value in economy for as long as possible

Tackling the toxics in plastics packaging

Article in PLOS Biology discusses hazardous chemicals in plastics; highlights chemicals as critical but often missing aspect in plastic pollution discussion; proposes rethinking current approach to plastic packaging toxicity testing

The Guardian investigates PFAS in blood, food packaging, and cookware

Journalist from The Guardian tests household items and his own blood for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) contamination in partnership with the University of Notre Dame and the Silent Spring Institute; analysis confirms presence of four types of PFAS in blood serum, 15 household products, food packaging and cookware; identified substances include perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), perfluorohexane-1-sulphonic acid (PFHxS)

Scientists develop food packaging films based on algae

Scientists from Ural Feral University publish study in Journal of Food Engineering ; develop three types of edible films for food packaging based on seaweed, alginate; describe films as water-soluble and dissolve by almost 90 percent, no special equipment needed to produce at industrial scale