By Emily Difrisco, Center for Environmental Health
OAKLAND, CA – Today, nonprofit organizations Center for Environmental Health (CEH) and Clean Production Action (CPA) unveiled the GreenScreen Certified™ Standard for Food Service Ware. The groundbreaking certification program sets a new safety standard for everyday items like disposable plates and bowls that do not contain per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) plus thousands of other chemicals of concern. PFAS are known as “forever chemicals” because they take thousands of years to break down in the environment and can cause cancer, thyroid disease, birth defects, hormone disruption, decreased fertility, and other serious health issues.
The certification draws from CEH’s extensive work testing single-use food ware for PFAS and builds on CPA’s GreenScreen® for Safer Chemicals, the globally recognized tool for chemical hazard assessment used by governments, companies, and certification standards to encourage the design and use of inherently safer chemical ingredients.
For decades, PFAS have been added to microwave popcorn bags, pizza boxes, fast food wrappers, plates, bowls, food trays, take-out containers and other food packaging to make them water and grease resistant. This creates a problem in manufacturing, at the disposal stage and during consumer use. Products and packaging containing PFAS pose unnecessarily harmful threats to human health, especially as safer alternatives are already on the market and will become increasingly available. GreenScreen Certified for Food Service Ware empowers manufacturers to communicate their use of safer chemicals to buyers and position themselves as market leaders in safer chemistries and innovation.
Eco-Products is the first manufacturer to earn the GreenScreen Silver designation for a food service ware product line. NatureWorks is the first material company to achieve the GreenScreen Certified Standard Platinum level of certification. Learn more about GreenScreen Certified products.
“It’s not worth risking our health over products that are meant to be used once and thrown away. PFAS are bad for our bodies and the environment but this new safety standard will empower consumers to make healthier decisions for themselves and their families.”
- Sue Chiang, Director of the Food Program at the Center for Environmental Health (CEH)
“As awareness rises about the problems of PFAS in food contact materials, brands and retailers want assurance that alternative products are truly free of PFAS and other known chemicals of high concern. GreenScreen Certified Food Service Ware takes the guesswork out of choosing environmentally preferred products by assessing all chemicals in products as well as impurities to rigorous chemical safety benchmarks.”
- Shari Franjevic, GreenScreen Program Manager
“San Francisco banned PFAS in single-use foodware starting in 2020, requiring city facilities and all San Francisco restaurants serving take-out to find PFAS-free alternatives. Tools for purchasers, like GreenScreen Certified, make finding safer alternatives much easier, and also help us avoid regrettable substitutes.”
- Jen Jackson, Toxics Reduction & Healthy Ecosystems Program Manager at San Francisco Department of the Environment
“We are very excited to earn GreenScreen Silver Certification for our Vanguard line of compostable products. Finding an alternative formula to replace PFAS was our top priority. But we also wanted to ensure our products did not contain other chemicals of high concern or known regrettable substitutes. We are incredibly proud to be the first manufacturer to offer an innovative foodservice product with a preferred chemistry.”
- Ian Jacobson, President of Eco-Products
“At NatureWorks, our purpose is to invent safe and environmentally sustainable materials for use in everyday products. The GreenScreen Platinum Certification earned by our Ingeo™️ biomaterials demonstrates how we successfully use the principles of green chemistry to create safe, bio-based alternatives to fossil-based plastics. We are proud to be the first materials manufacturer to earn this certification and see Ingeo™️ recognized not just as a material for high performance compostable food serviceware, but also as a preferred alternative to the materials that rely on PFAS chemicals for performance.”
- Steve Davies, Vice President, Performance Packaging, NatureWorks
CEH and CPA developed the GreenScreen Certified Standard for Food Service Ware in consultation with a diverse group of stakeholders, including manufacturers, purchasers, and external scientific experts from nonprofit and industry groups.
The new Standard provides a pathway of continuous improvement through Silver, Gold and Platinum levels of certification, with Platinum being the most stringent leadership criteria. Companies applying for certification must disclose their full ingredient information under confidentiality and comply with a comprehensive list of prohibited substances. Products are tested for chemicals of concern and the chemical inventory is assessed with GreenScreen tools. In addition all products must meet end of life recyclability and/or compostability requirements. The process ensures value, usability, and relevance for industry professionals wanting to excel in offering products made with safer alternatives.
Join us for a webinar on November 9, 2021.
About Center for Environmental Health
CEH has conducted extensive testing on single-use food service ware and maintains a publicly available database identifying products with high and low levels of fluorine, indicating likely use of PFAS. The database, alongside educational and training programs, provide guidance for consumers looking for safer alternatives and institutional purchasers at schools, government and corporate offices looking to create healthier environments.
About Clean Production Action and GreenScreen® for Safer Chemicals
Clean Production Action is a mission driven non-profit organization that designs and delivers strategic solutions for green chemicals, sustainable materials, and environmentally preferable products. Clean Production Action’s four programs are BizNGO, GreenScreen for Safer Chemicals, Chemical Footprint Project, and Investor Environmental Health Network.
Read the GreenScreen Certified Food Service Wear fact sheet.