Enabling a circular economy for chemicals in plastics

Elsevier, Current Opinion in Green and Sustainable Chemistry, Volume 31, October 2021
Aurisano N., Weber R., Fantke P.

Enabling a circular economy for plastics in Europe and beyond is an ambitious goal. To reach a fully closed loop, numerous challenges and knowledge gaps need to be overcome. This review provides a list of more than 6000 chemicals reported to be found in plastics and an overview of the challenges and gaps in assessing their impacts on the environment and human health along the life cycle of plastic products. We further identified 1518 plastic-related chemicals of concern, which should be prioritized for substitution by safer alternatives. At last, we propose five policy recommendations, including the need of a global and overarching regulatory framework for plastics and related chemicals, in support of a circular economy for plastics and of target 12.4 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.