Read the full article by Zachary Russell (Store Brands)

“Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances, better known as PFAS, are a hot topic among environmental experts and conscious consumers.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, PFAS are widely used, long-lasting chemicals that take a long time to break down once in the environment. There are thousands of PFAS chemicals found in consumer products, including the packaging of items now on grocery store shelves.

PFAS have found their way into water, air, fish, soil and even blood. According to the Centers for Disease Control, while the effects aren’t fully known, studies have indicated that the chemicals may impact reproduction, thyroid function, the immune system and more.

According to experts, retailers moving private brand packaging towards clean, certified materials could make a big difference both for the environment, and when it comes to attracting customers who value sustainability.

‘Alternatives to PFAS exist for most applications, including various food packaging,’ said Ross Youngs, CEO and co-founder of Univenture, a multifaceted firm that works to develop sustainable packaging. ‘However, market demand will drive production capacity because until there is a need and cost justification, new source availability will lag.’

Youngs noted that bio-based sustainable options such as polylactic acid (PLA), bio wax coated papers and laminations of paper cellulose bioplastics are all potential options for packaging. For the longer-life non-packaging PFA products, there may be exceptions for specific uses.

Regardless, he said there will be a need for environmentally friendly methods to stabilize or neutralize PFAS for end-of-life disposal. And while there are challenges in the process, he said PFAS-free packaging is a worthwhile investment. However, a proper branding and advertising campaign around the new packaging for private label items must be in place as well. This is due to a lack of PFAS awareness among the public, although Google searches for the term have increased in the past three years.” …