Plastic-free dishes are not so green and harmless to health

There is something to fall from above. According to a survey by UFC Que Choisir, tableware made from cardboard or vegetable fibers is not necessarily a better alternative than tableware made of plastic. Some products tested may contain more than one ” compounds dangerous to health or the environment “.

Potentially dangerous compounds in plastic-free dishes

Since January 2020, disposable plastic tableware has been banned. It was therefore necessary to find alternatives mainly based on vegetable pulp, palm leaves, or cardboard to replace it. Problem, these products are not always as environmentally friendly or harmless to health as you might think.

According to a UFC-Que Choisir survey carried out on 57 products, disposable tableware without plastic ” shows too much presence of compounds dangerous to health or the environment “. Two thirds of the samples contain perfluorinated compounds, some of which contain endocrine disruptors or are carcinogenic or immunotoxic. Among the products tested, plates have a content of perfluorinated compounds 140 times higher than the standard defined in Denmark. In addition, some paper or cardboard products also contain several questionable substances (perfluorinated compounds, chloropropanols, aromatic amines).

A European regulatory problem

There would be a problem with European regulations since “ except for certain traditional materials (glass, certain plastics), the regulations do not define a closed list of authorized substances and additives but is satisfied to lay down a general principle of harmlessness of the materials used by the manufacturers of dishes and other objects in contact with food products »Deplores the UFC-Que Choisir.

Therefore, the consumer association asks the European authorities to “ define, as part of the review by the end of 2022 of the legislation on materials intended to come into contact with foodstuffs, a precise list of materials and additives that can be used without danger as substitutes for plastics for tableware disposable “. She also calls for a strengthening of ” control of environmental claims, particularly relating to composting “.