Companies Open-Source PFAS Replacement Packaging

Sept. 21, 2021
Solenis and Zume are open-sourcing the recipe and playbook to encourage all brands to leverage the breakthrough in their manufacturing processes.

Through a joint initiative with Solenis and Zume, global brands can meet their commitments to eliminate the use of PFAS faster than ever before.

Zume, a sustainability company offering viable substitutes for single-use plastics, and specialty chemicals producer Solenis are partnering to open-source a PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) replacement for food packaging manufacturing to food manufacturers and consumer packaged goods brands. The companies are reportedly open-sourcing the recipe and manufacturing process so that all packaging manufacturers can adopt the technique and speed up the removal of harmful chemicals. The companies’ molded fiber packaging offering reportedly ensures food grease and water resistance without the need for PFAS or harmful chemicals.

“Open-sourcing our PFA-free solution creates a path for brands across the world to remove plastics and harmful chemicals from their consumer packaging and single-use goods,” says Zume CEO and Chairman Alex Garden. “Brands have made pledges to remove PFAS and this new launch will enable them to deliver on their promises.”

“Our goal is to encourage any manufacturer in the world to start using this technology as quickly as possible,” says Solenis CEO John Panichella. “Through this joint initiative with Zume, global brands can meet their commitments to eliminate the use of PFAS faster than ever before.”

The new scientific report cowritten by Zume and Solenis, Putting Forever Chemicals to Rest: An Open-Source Guide to PFAS-Free Packaging, details the findings from both companies’ scientists as they created and tested the new process. The coauthors conclude that products leveraging the new offering will be fully compostable within 90 days of disposal.

The joint team identified five key parameters — thermoforming, freeness, chemistry management, charge management and part formation — for achieving oil and grease resistance, with chemistry that eliminated PFAS and achieved two hours of oil holdout with 60°C oil. By following these process parameters and control strategy, manufacturers around the world will be able to provide end-use consumers with a fully functional product that does not pose a health risk.

PFAS, largely known as forever chemicals, are used to coat paper and cardboard containers for fast food and to-go boxes and have been linked to potentially harmful health effects, including decreased fertility, weakened immune system response and increased risk for certain cancers, according to the CDC. The Food and Drug Administration has mandated that these substances will not be allowed in the manufacturing of food-contact packaging after January 2024.

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