Researchers detect chemicals present in and migrating from PET bottles

Two studies analyze polyethylene terephthalate (PET) chemicals; identify several volatile chemicals present in and migrating from new PET bottles as well as from bottles commercially available in Japan; develop online method for quantifying non-intentionally added substances (NIAS)

Testing finds antimony in common beverages bottled in PET

Study carried out by Defend Our Health detects antimony above safe levels in 40% of tested beverages sold in PET bottles; antimony widely used as a catalyst to produce PET; calls on manufacturers to switch to widely available safer chemical alternatives, address the numerous hazardous substances that can migrate from plastics into food, chemical pollution in communities surrounding production sites

Taiwan starts rPET review process to support circular food packaging

Taiwan Food and Drug Administration publishes application and certification process for processing recycled polyethylene terephthalate (rPET) for food contact; review process similar to those in the US and EU; manufacturers must demonstrate recycled pellets comply with either US or EU safety regulations

Spain passes comprehensive waste reduction regulation, eases the way for reuse

New Spanish waste law includes extensive waste reduction measures and targets across the entire supply chain; bans bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates in food packaging; mandates food providers offer tap water for free and accept reusable containers if customers bring them; 20% of floor space in large grocery stores must be for food without packaging; establishes extended producer responsibility scheme and bottle-to-bottle recycling program

Reports identify there is still much to do to reach a circular economy

In the first quarter of 2022 Circle Economy, the OECD, and Zero Waste Europe publish reports investigating various aspects of material value chains and share insights to ‘close the circularity gap’ and ‘bend the plastics curve’; evaluate material usage globally, plastics in OECD nations and globally, and PET in Europe

Scientific review reveals the chemicals migrating from PET drink bottles

150 chemicals have been measured to migrate from PET bottles into drinks; 18 chemicals exceed EU migration limits, only 41 included in EU’s regulations on plastic food contact materials; most migrating chemicals are non-intentionally added substances (NIAS); systematic review includes 91 studies

South Korea implementing deposit scheme for disposable cups

South Korean Ministry of Environment announces disposable cups from chain cafes and fast-food restaurants will have 300 KRW deposit beginning June 10, 2022; applies to chains with more than 100 branches, 38,000 stores total; plan includes production standards for plastic and paper cups to ensure recyclability; part of South Korea’s 2050 carbon neutrality goal

Microplastics: linkage to the gut’s microbiome and autism spectrum disorder

Scientific study reports that gut passages change polyethylene terephthalate (PET) microplastics morphology and alter human microbial colonic community composition; another study finds polyethylene (PE) microplastics to accumulate in the brain and induce autism spectrum disorder-like symptoms using a mouse model

Studies investigate how to improve plastic recycling

Researchers analyze options to increase recycling rates; laboratory study reports using untargeted migrants analysis as a feasible tool to discern recycled from virgin polyethylene (PE); stakeholder analysis finds equal involvement of all relevant actors needed to improve PET plastic recycling

John Oliver’s Last Week Tonight features plastics

Last Week Tonight episode focuses on plastic recycling, reports only nine percent of all plastics recycled, functioning systems only established for polyethylene terephthalate, polyethylene; discusses Basel Convention restricting plastic waste trade, criticizes misleading closed-loop recycling claims; recommends targeted bans, introducing extended producer responsibility schemes