Food Contact Materials

We need safe food contact materials in a toxic-free circular economy

The way we produce, distribute and consume our food at the moment is detrimental to our environment and our health. Single use food packaging (and tableware), are not only a threat to our environment (pollution from SUP etc), it is also threatening our health, due to the fact that those single use food packaging contains hazardous chemicals that migrate from the packaging to the food and eventually our bodies. the exposure to those hazardous chemicals notably impacts of hormonal, nervous and immune systems.


This is why, at Zero Waste Europe we are working with a group of NGOs across all facets of food contact materials relevant policy to ensure ambitious application by decision makers on chemicals in food packaging.

Declaration of Concern_Cover

View the global Declaration of Concern and call to action led by Zero Waste Europe, GAIA Asia-Pacific, GAIA US, and Upstream – signed by 170+ organisations worldwide demanding that lawmakers protect us from hazardous chemicals in food packaging.


This declaration came in response to “Impacts of Food Contact Chemicals on Human Health: A Consensus Statement” published by a group of world-renowned human and environmental health scientists which raised serious concern and adds to growing evidence about exposure to harmful chemicals through their use in food packaging.


A Declaration of Concern and Call to Action regarding Plastics, Packaging and Human Health


This policy briefing looks into the threat that FCMs poses both to human health and the environment, with a focus on food packaging, and highlights the opportunity for ambitious reform of the EU policy framework which would contribute to the transition towards safe, cost-efficient and reusable packaging that protects human health and guarantees a toxic-free circular economy.


We have the opportunity to reform EU legislation on chemicals in food packaging to make it safe and reusable. Our latest policy briefing outlines recommendations to ensure a toxic-free circular economy.


Towards safe food contact materials in a toxic-free circular economy

INSTA Plastics in the Spotlight 00

This health research project looks to test urine samples for the presence of phthalates and bisphenols, chemicals commonly found in plastic packaging and that migrate to the food. The project tested 52 decision-makers, media personalities, public figures and artists across Europe for the presence of 28 hazardous chemicals.


This year the project involves the following key partners, with the hope of spreading the message widely across Europe: Ekologi Brez Meja (Slovenia), Rezero (Spain), Za Zemiata (Bulgaria), ZERO (Portugal), Zero Waste Europe (Belgium) and Zero Waste Latvija (Latvia).


Plastics in the Spotlight


As part of the UNWRAPPED Project, we have developed a toolkit to throw a spotlight on the human health risks posed by plastics and food packaging materials and chemicals. The 9 factsheets in the toolkit present facts and figures about how disposable food packaging can be harmful to human health and call for corporate and government decision-makers to put an end to single-use packaging and take a precautionary approach to use harmful chemicals that are known to migrate out of packaging and cause human health impacts.


The UNWRAPPED project involves the following key partners across the globe: Upstream, the Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives (GAIA) & Zero Waste Europe.


Check out the UNWRAPPED Project’s toolkit

Sign up for the ‘Food for Thought’ newsletter to get key updates on Food Contact Material policy, legislation and other useful resources. The newsletter is produced in collaboration with CHEM Trust and the Health and Environment Alliance (HEAL). Together, we are working towards creating a toxic-free environment and a toxic-free circular economy, where nobody should have to worry about the presence of health-harming chemicals in the products that come into contact with our food.

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