Bisphenol Restriction Increases the Costs of Plastic Recycling

The EU’s plan to restrict the use of five bisphenols (bisphenol A [BPA], bisphenol [BPB], bisphenol S [BPS], bisphenol F [BPF] and bisphenol AF [BPAF]) will drive up the price of recycling plastics. That’s the prediction of Plastics Recyclers Europe, an industry association. Their reasoning? The recycling industry would have to test and ensure that bisphenol content is below the required limit before recycling materials. The industry estimates that such testing would cost up to €15,000 per test.

The level of the limit value will be the deciding factor. Germany, which submitted an EU-wide restriction proposal for bisphenol A and other bisphenols with similar environmental effects to the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA) last November, is proposing a limit value of 10 ppm.

Manufacturers of polycarbonates and textiles, however, see this value as problematic. At such a low level, the industry would be forced to test more frequently, which would involve higher costs. According to Plastics Recyclers Europe, the situation is further complicated by the fact that bisphenol concentrations in recycled plastics are more likely to increase in the future. As an example, the association cites the brominated flame retardant tetrabromobisphenol A, which is increasingly being used in electrical and electronic equipment as well as in motor vehicles, thereby increasing the load in recycled plastic further.

Bisphenols Are Endocrine Disruptors

Both BPA, the best-known representative of this group of substances, and BPB are already classified as substances of very high concern (SVHC) because of their endocrine effects on environmental organisms. The evidence for endocrine disruption in the environment for BPS, BPF, and BPAF is clear.

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