Zero Waste Europe (ZWE) report helps businesses understand importance of addressing hazardous chemicals in food contact materials (FCMs), current challenges; shares tools and resources to support decision making; argues that to be truly sustainable, packaging must also be safe for both human and environmental health.
Civil society organization Zero Waste Europe (ZWE) published a report in October 2022 outlining how the safety of chemicals in food contact materials (FCMs) is an essential component of achieving true sustainability. It introduces the increasing demand from consumers and regulatory bodies to achieve a circular economy for packaging, the latest scientific evidence for the presence of hazardous chemicals is various packaging types, and the challenges currently posed by a lack of regulatory guidance and transparency for chemicals along the packaging supply chain.
The report offers businesses guidance on first steps that can be taken to better address hazardous chemicals including a set of recommended peer-reviewed literature resources as well as complimentary databases. Short sections are also dedicated to offering an overview of popular topics including microplastics, bio-based and biodegradable materials, and recycling. Current and upcoming policy initiatives are also addressed, including a summary of regulatory changes expected in the coming years.
Overall, the report emphasizes that “in order for food packaging to be truly sustainable, it needs to be safe for both human and environmental health.” Readers are encouraged to implement reuse systems, which have been scientifically shown to significantly reduce overall impacts compared to single-use packaging. Tools such as the Understanding Packaging (UP) Scorecard are recommended to support decision-makers in developing and justifying new proposals (FPF reported).