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Washington State has enacted a law that establishes minimum recycled content requirements for certain plastic products and prohibits the sale and distribution of certain expanded polystyrene products.  The law will also limit the distribution of single-use plastic products by food service establishments. In addition, the law, which becomes effective on July 17, 2021, establishes registration and reporting requirements for manufacturers of certain plastic products.

The Australian Government has released a plan to reduce plastic waste. Currently, 2.5 million metric tons of plastic waste is generated in Australia each year, with 13% of that recovered.

Virginia has enacted a ban on polystyrene food service containers, which will be implemented in two phases, and has committed to discontinuing most single-use plastics by state agencies, colleges, and universities.

China State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) requested comments on two Voluntary National Standards concerning biodegradable materials.

The Thai Industrial Standards Institute (TISI) notified the World Trade Organization (WTO) on May 11, 2021, concerning four draft food contact regulations. The draft technical regulations are described below.

Keller & Heckman Partner Rachel Bond will be one of the speakers at Circular Polyolefins Americas. The title of her presentation is, “Regulatory Update on Recycled Plastics for Food Contact in U.S. and Latin America.”

Targets set by brand owners and regulators are contributing to a growing demand for recyclates and U.S. lawmakers are increasingly interested in shifting more of recycling costs to packaging producers and brand owners. Yet, supply to meet established targets remains limited, especially for recycled resins to be utilized in food and beverage packaging.

The European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) updated its administrative guidance to implement new provisions required by the Transparency Regulation (EU) 2019/1381 and are applicable both to applications for new authorizations and modifications of existing authorizations.  (See the article, New EU Transparency Regulation to Apply from March 27, 2021, for more information on this regulation.)

The plastics industry has expressed concern over certain provision in legislation aimed to reduce plastic waste that was introduced by U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR), S.984, and  by U.S.

The European Food Safety Authority’s (EFSA) Panel on Food Contact Materials, Enzymes and Processing Aids (CEP) published an assessment  of the impact of IARC Monograph Vol. 121 on the safety of styrene for use in plastic food contact materials (FCMs). In September 2019, IARC updated its evaluation of styrene to classify the substance as “probably carcinogenic to humans” (Group 2A).

The Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) has published a request for nominations for “existing substances” be included on the Positive List (PL) of “synthetic resins” for food-contact materials (FCMs) with corresponding submission forms. “Existing substances” include those marketed or used for food-contact utensils, containers and packages (UCP) in Japan prior to the effective date for the PL (i.e., June 1, 2020).  The deadline for filing such nominations is October 30, 2020.