Chapter 3: Alternatives to PFASs in Molded Fiber Fast Food Packaging
Published:17 Nov 2023
M. Teli, A. Maruzzo, and S. A. Bălan, in Toward a PFAS-free Future
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In this chapter, an evaluation of alternatives to perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) added to molded fiber fast food packaging is conducted. Although these PFASs provide water and oil barrier properties, they are associated with high environmental and human health hazards and are already being phased-out in several states in the U.S. Safer alternatives are therefore needed for molded fibers, and research into their potential hazards is necessary to avoid a regrettable substitute. This chapter evaluates two alternatives, cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs) and lignin, which are materials that can be sourced from within the paper industry. CNCs and lignin are promising alternatives that show potential to be incorporated into the molded fiber production process, can be easily composted, and are less hazardous than the PFASs that have been used in food packaging. In this chapter, the potential technical and hazard profiles of these alternatives are assessed and several future needs are identified, such as evaluating the efficiency of incorporation within the molded fiber matrix, creating common language and transparency with regard to technical information in the food packaging literature, and investing in green chemistry innovation for processing aids.