Trinseo (NYSE: TSE), a global materials solutions provider and manufacturer of plastics, latex binders and synthetic rubber, conducted an expert presentation entitled
‘The Entire Lifecycle of Polystyrene and its Safety for Plastics Food Packaging” to participants interested in thermoformed and injection molded packaging value chain during the Material Developments Session of Thin Wall Packaging Asia 2018 in Bangkok, Thailand.
Libby Fong, Trinseo’s Product Stewardship Specialist, discussed foamed and non-foamed polystyrene (PS) resins used in common food contact applications. The main topics covered included:
“Polystyrene is widely accepted by various authorities and has been approved to be used in food contact applications by the Ministry of Health of the People’s Republic of China, the European Commission/European Food Safety Authority in Europe, the Indonesia National Agency of Drug and Food Control, the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare as well as the Food and Drug Administration in the United States,” Fong said. “Styrene has been studied extensively and the data shows that styrene at typical exposure levels causes no significant long-term health effects.”
After Fong’s presentation, the attendees further exchanged information during the Q&A session.
There are several things to consider when choosing the best packaging material. All packaging leaves an environmental footprint regardless of material type. It takes energy and raw materials to produce, transport, and recover or dispose of all materials. So it is important to measure all these impacts throughout the entire lifecycle of the product.
Styrene exists naturally in many foods and beverages. The amount of styrene that migrates from PS packaging is far below the acceptable standards for exposure. Replacing PS in food service by alternative materials would significantly increase waste.
Fong concluded that compared to other alternatives, plastic is a better material to use for food packaging. It is economical, can be used in hygienic applications, keeps food hot or cold, and can lead to less food waste.
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