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The Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL), Zero Waste Europe, CHEM Trust and ClientEarth have joined forces to illustrate how harmful chemicals in food packaging can hamper the circular economy and put our health at risk.

Recycling food packaging can be an important part of achieving a circular economy in the European Union. But recycled materials can still contain chemicals that may contribute to  cancer, reproductive disorders and hormone disruption. The infographic launched today visualizes why we need more preventive EU regulation to ensure food contact materials are safe to use, reuse and recycle, in order to achieve a toxic-free circular economy. 

This infographic is also available for download in PDF version.

Together with other NGOs, we support calls for revised EU-wide legislation on food contact materials. To adequately protect our health, the environment and to achieve a sustainable and toxic-free circular economy, policymakers need to: 

  1. Thoroughly assess, measure and control chemicals in food contact materials, including food packaging.
  2. Improve transparency and traceability of chemicals throughout the supply chain, including recycling processes, and better inform consumers.
  3. Prohibit known substances of concern in all food contact materials, to protect health and prevent toxic recycling.
  4. Ensure the transition to sustainable food packaging that is designed to be toxic-free, reusable (as much as possible), and recyclable at the end of their life cycle.
  5. Set the same standards for primary and recycled food contact materials in order to guarantee the same level of safety and build consumer trust in recycled materials.

The infographic published today is part of a series launched by CHEM Trust, ClientEarth, HEAL and Zero Waste Europe. Click here to visit the first infographic in this series, which illustrates how chemicals used in the production, processing, preparation and packaging of food may put our health at risk.

Click here to read more about HEAL’s work on food contact materials and chemical contamination.

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