Packaging sustainability during the pandemic

Consultancy McKinsey & Company publishes paper on consumers’ views towards sustainability in packaging, as influenced by COVID 19 pandemic; urges more focus on proactive communication with consumers and supply chain partners, holistic approach to sustainability and hygiene requirements

Survival of coronavirus on surfaces

Live virus particles found on frozen food packaging in China; updated questions and answers series on coronavirus published by the German Bundesinstitut für Risikobewertung (BfR)

Study investigates microplastics release from baby bottles

Article published in Nature Food describes release of microplastics from polypropylene baby bottles following cleaning and sterilization steps; releases of up to 16.2 million particles per liter, average infant exposure from feeding in the range of 14,600 to 4.5 million microplastic particles per infant per day

China publishes five draft FCM standards

National Health Commission (NHC) standards refine existing requirements for composites, printing inks, paper/paperboard, bamboo/wood, and detergents used in food contact; public comments being accepted until November 30, 2020

Recent studies on EDCs and cardiovascular health

Emerging evidence and systematic analyses highlight adverse effects of bisphenols and phthalates on cardiovascular health; meta-analysis of US National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data from 2003-2016 finds significant association of cardiovascular disease with bisphenol A; prenatal exposure particularly detrimental; calls for more mechanistic research, evaluation of cardiovascular safety profiles for substitution chemicals

Process to recycle polystyrene for food contact applications

Mechanical recycling process developed by Styrenics Circular Solutions (SCS) passes set of tests to ensure removal of impurities; will be submitted to European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) for review

C&EN examines perspectives on chemical recycling

Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN) article reports on significant investments being made across the plastics supply chain to scale up chemical recycling technologies, growing skepticism from critics not convinced of the technologies’ viability and unwilling to support expanded use of plastics

EFSA’s styrene assessment requests systematic review

European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) panel publishes assessment of styrene in plastic food contact materials, follows 2018 International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) conclusion labelling it as ‘probably carcinogenic’; calls for systematic review of genotoxicity, toxicokinetics, species differences to determine safety

Calls for a UN global treaty on plastic pollution

Ellen MacArthur Foundation, World Wildlife Fund, and Boston Consulting Group advocate United Nations (UN) members to establish global treaty; publish report detailing business case, launch call for industry partners to join effort

EU’s Chemicals Strategy plans actions on FCMs

European Commission (EC) publishes Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability; plans to ban PFAS for all non-essential uses, move towards grouping approach for regulation of all chemicals; specific actions for food contact materials (FCM) include extending generic approach to risk management, identifying endocrine disruptors, considering cumulative effects of chemical mixtures