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2016 ENV Ministerial - Michael Warhurst - CHEM Trust - Circular economy plenary

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2016 ENV Ministerial - Michael Warhurst - CHEM Trust - Circular economy plenary

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2016 ENV Ministerial - Michael Warhurst - CHEM Trust - Circular economy plenary

  1. 1. Circular economy & chemicals: Problems and Solutions Dr A. Michael Warhurst Executive Director, CHEM Trust OECD Ministerial meeting 29th September 2016 www.chemtrust.org.uk @chemtrust @mwarhurst
  2. 2. Chemical problems for CE • A circular economy should lead to more reuse, recycling, remanufacture – and longer product lifetimes • But hazardous chemicals can disrupt this: – Long lasting products may contain chemicals that have since been banned, disrupting recycling & remanufacturing • (& in theory re-use, though this is often ignored) – Contamination of feedstock; it’s harder to control feedstock quality for a recycled material vs a virgin one • Two examples: – Bisphenol A (BPA): High volume chemical, used in food can linings, thermal paper, polycarbonate plastics – Brominated flame retardants (BFRs): Large group of chemicals, used in furniture, electronics, building products.
  3. 3. 1) Bisphenol A (BPA) in thermal paper • BPA is used in thermal paper (e.g. till receipts) – This then enters the recycled paper stream • Problem for circular economy: – Recycled paper & card (e.g. pizza boxes) contaminated with BPA [1] – BPA an endocrine disrupting chemical, banned in baby bottles • Solutions: – Stop recycling thermal paper with other paper? • Impractical? – Restrict BPA use in thermal paper? • EU is doing this [2] – Regulate recycled paper use in food contact [3]?
  4. 4. 2) Brominated Flame Retardants in kitchen plastics • Brominated flame retardants (BFRs) used in plastics, e.g. in electronics – many restricted, some UNEP POPs (e.g. HBCDD & PentaBDE [4]) • Researchers found in black kitchen plastics on sale on EU market – Presumably through recycling of e.g. electronics waste [5]
  5. 5. 3) BFRs in furniture & building products • Widely used, long lived products – Increases the chance that will contain banned chemicals by the time they enter the waste stream. – A reservoir of hazardous chemicals [6] • Recycling can spread contamination – E.g. BFR-contaminated polyurethane is being recycled into carpet backing in USA [7] • Solutions – Rapid action to remove problem chemicals from products, at design stage (including pre-regulation) – Not everything can be recycled/remanufactured – contaminated materials may need to be disposed of; but information flow needed – Balance value of resource vs concern re hazard in policy & regulation
  6. 6. Recommendations 1. Design non-toxic products, with faster, more precautionary, safety assessment and regulation of chemicals 2. Ensure recycled materials & remanufactured goods are properly regulated (with enforcement), e.g. paper/card food contact materials, carpet backing etc. 3. Improve (global) information flow on hazardous materials in finished products 4. Some materials should not be recycled See briefing: http://www.chemtrust.org.uk/circulareconomy
  7. 7. References [1] Test: Unwanted chemicals found in pizza boxes, Danish Consumer Council, 19th Oct 2015 http://kemi.taenk.dk/bliv-groennere/test-unwanted-chemicals-found-pizza-boxes [2] EU Chemical Agency committee agrees that Bisphenol A in receipts poses risk to workers, Jun 2015: http://www.chemtrust.org.uk/eu-chemical-agency-committee-agrees-that-bisphenol-a-in-receipts- poses-risk-to-workers/ [2] Chemicals in food contact materials: A gap in the internal market, a failure in public protection, CHEM Trust, January 2016: http://www.chemtrust.org.uk/foodcontact/ [4] Listing of POPs in the Stockholm Convention, Stockholm Convention: http://chm.pops.int/TheConvention/ThePOPs/ListingofPOPs [5] Occurrence of brominated flame retardants in black thermo cups and selected kitchen utensils purchased on the European market, Food Additives & Contaminants: Part A, Volume 30, Issue 11, 2013: http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/19440049.2013.829246#.VYp4uVWWGMU [6] Stubbings, W. A., & Harrad, S. (2014). Extent and mechanisms of brominated flame retardant emissions from waste soft furnishings and fabrics: A critical review. Environment International, 71, 164-175 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0160412014001822 [7] Optimizing Recycling: Post-Consumer Flexible Polyurethane Foam Scrap Used In Building Products, Health Building Network, July 2016: http://www.healthybuilding.net/news/2016/07/29/post-consumer-flexible-polyurethane-foam-scrap- used-in-building-products

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