While the ban on disposable plastic tableware has led customers and restaurateurs to refer to “plant-based” options, the UFC-Que Choisir at this time unveils the outcomes of an unique take a look at overlaying 57 of those. merchandise, which reveals an extreme presence of compounds harmful to health or the setting. Consequently, the affiliation requires a strengthening of European rules, regarding supplies licensed as substitutes for plastics but additionally environmental claims.
Disposable plastic tableware now banned in France
Since the “Energy transition for green growth” legislation of 2015, France has embarked on a strategy of progressive prohibition of a sure variety of non-recyclable plastic waste, together with disposable tableware. Plates, glasses, goblets (since 1er January 2020), in addition to straws and cutlery (since 1er January 2021), when they’re disposable and product of plastic. The environmental stakes are excessive, particularly since the usage of dwelling catering (delivered or take-out) has additional elevated with the health disaster.
To discover out if the merchandise which have changed them (primarily primarily based on vegetable pulp or palm leaves for dishes, and paper or cardboard for straws) are secure for the setting and health, UFC-Que Choisir, related to three different European shopper associations, examined 57 merchandise (1), in search of 6 households of contaminants.
Perfluorinated compounds doubtlessly harmful for health in two-thirds of the merchandise examined
The outcomes of our unique take a look at are worrying: thus, 66% of the samples examined comprise perfluorinated compounds (used to make dishes resistant to water and grease with out breaking down, however a few of that are carcinogenic, immunotoxic, poisonous for improvement. and / or endocrine disruptors) past the suggestions (2), generally extensively (sure plates of the Betik model (3) have a content material of perfluorinated compounds 140 instances increased than the usual outlined in Denmark). We also can level out the chance of “cocktail effect” for sure merchandise which current an accumulation of gear (particularly perfluorinated compounds, chloropropanols, fragrant amines), significantly for cardboard paper straws. Thus, the fuschia striped straws of the Santex model mix these three substances.
European rules insufficiently protecting
We can due to this fact solely deplore that European rules are so incomplete: aside from sure conventional supplies (glass, sure plastics), the rules do not outline a closed record of licensed substances and components however are content material to lay down a basic precept of security of supplies utilized by producers of tableware and different objects in touch with meals merchandise. An clearly inadequate method.
The identical is true of the flagship argument of those merchandise, extensively put ahead by their producers: their alleged environmental advantage. Taking benefit of an excessively lax European framework for inexperienced claims, packaging largely emphasizes its “compostable” or “biodegradable” character. However, with such a presence of perfluorinated compounds, their composting (home or industrial) will lead to the discharge of those significantly persistent substances into the soil. As for recycling, if it is attainable for paper or cardboard merchandise, the identical is not true for crockery produced from palm leaves, bamboo or sugar cane, because the merchandise are handled with a binder. hydrophobic (to guarantee they do not get soggy on contact with meals).
Determined to assure the protection of customers and their setting, UFC-Que Choisir asks the European authorities:
- To outline, as a part of the evaluate by the tip of 2022 of the laws on supplies supposed to come into contact with foodstuffs, a exact record of supplies and components that can be utilized with out hazard as substitutes for plastics for disposable dishes ;
- Strengthen the management of environmental claims, significantly relating to composting.
(1) 39 tableware and 18 straw fashions. Of these 57 merchandise, 16 had been bought in France, the others in Italy, Spain or Denmark.
(2) In the absence of European rules, we have now retained the utmost degree outlined in Denmark for paper and cardboard supplies supposed for contact with meals.
(3) “Square oval” plates 23 cm in diameter (wheat bran) from the Betik model.