Food contact news february 2021

European Environment Agency (EEA) publishes report on plastics, their impact on the environment and climate, and their place in an EU circular economy; three joint pathways for achieving necessary change identified based on smarter use, increased circularity, and renewable raw material
The European Environment Agency (EEA) published a report on the impact of plastics concerning the environment and climate, the issue of plastic waste trade, and three approaches that together may lead towards a European circular plastics economy. The report lays out the challenges of shifting a linear towards a circular plastics economy. The authors mention, for example, the problem of additives, which are important for processing but also make the materials more hazardous, the wide application of plastics for short-lived products, leakage to the environment as well as the very low recycling rates and ubiquitous downcycling. Furthermore, the report addresses the issue of plastic waste trade, with the EU-28 states still being a major exporter. The Chinese plastic import ban in 2017 and the Basel Convention have contributed to reducing plastic waste exports from the EU to China, but also led to a re-routing towards other countries in Southeast Asia including Vietnam, Thailand, and Malaysia. For the future, the report suggests improving the capacities for reusing and recycling plastic waste within the EU.

Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC)
Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) and Health Canada (HC) propose grouping bisphenol A (BPA) structural analogues and functional alternatives under Chemicals Management Plan
Regulatory action on bisphenol A (BPA), and a shift towards BPA-free products, have led to increased use of alternatives, such as bisphenol S (BPS CAS 80-09-1). However, these substitutes are often structurally very similar to BPA, which has been linked to a range of human health and environmental impacts including endocrine disruption. According to the authors of the consultation document, there is an “ongoing need to consider the broader group of bisphenols.” The 343 substances were selected based on their structural and functional similarity. The technical consultation is now seeking public comments on, among others, the methods used to identify the broader group of BPA analogs and functional alternatives as well as the proposed sub-grouping of substances.