There has been an effort throughout the United States to increase the use of recycled materials, including plastic. The FDA becomes involved when industries collect used polymeric materials (typically food containers) and propose to recycle these materials to make new food containers. The FDA’s safety concerns with the use of recycled plastic materials in food-contact containers and packaging supplies in Minneapolis are:
- That contaminants from the previously used consumer material may appear in the final food-contact product made from the recycled material, and;
- That recycled post-consumer material which was not regulated for food-contact use may be unknowingly incorporated into food-contact packaging, and;
- That components of recycled plastic may not comply with the existing regulations for food-contact use.
To address these objections, the FDA considers each proposed use of recycled plastic for food packaging supplies on a case-by-case basis. It then issues advice as to whether the recycling process can be expected to produce plastic that is suitable for food-contact applications. The FDA has prepared a reference document entitled Guidance for Industry – Use of Recycled Plastics in Food Packaging: Chemistry Considerations that can help manufacturers of food packaging evaluate their processes for recycling plastic into food packaging.