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Home > News > Recycling

Study: Toxic chemicals found in recycled plastics, recycling hindered

Source:Adsale Plastics Network Date :2023-11-15 Editor :RC
Copyright: This article was originally written/edited by Adsale Plastics Network (AdsaleCPRJ.com), republishing and excerpting are not allowed without permission. For any copyright infringement, we will pursue legal liability in accordance with the law.

Scientists at the University of Gothenburg published a study with results of examining pellets from recycled plastics. The team found hundreds of toxic chemicals, including pesticides and pharmaceuticals.

 

The published study, led by Professor Bethanie Carney Almroth, reveals that plastic pellets from plastic recycling plants in 13 different countries, including Africa, South America, Asia and Eastern Europe, were found to contain hundreds of chemicals.


recycled plastics with chemicals_480.jpg


Recycled plastics contain hundreds of chemicals, which are dangerous to people and the environment. (Source: Greenpeace)

 

In total, 491 organic compounds were detected and quantified in the pellets, with an additional 170 compounds tentatively annotated. These compounds span various classes, including highly toxic pesticides, pharmaceuticals, industrial chemicals and plastic additives.

 

As toxic chemicals are used to make all plastics, and plastics will also adsorb other chemicals during use, there are no plastics that can be deemed safe or circular.

 

With the findings, the scientists judge that recycled plastics unfit for most purposes and a hinder in the attempts to create a circular economy.

 

Professor Almroth commented that plastic recycling had been touted as a solution to the plastics pollution crisis, but toxic chemicals in plastic complicated their reuse and disposal and hindered recycling.

 

More than 13,000 chemicals are used in plastics with 25% classified as hazardous. Scientists from the University of Gothenburg, IPEN, Aarhus University and the University of Exeter, state that “no plastic chemical can be classified as safe”.

 

“Numerous studies show that hazardous chemicals can accumulate even in relatively close-loop plastic recycling systems. We need to rapidly phase-out plastic chemicals that can cause harm to human health and the environment,” continued Almroth.


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