Planet Ark is working alongside Alliance Paper to encourage businesses to protect the environment and public health by using paper products that are free of chemicals of concern, such as bisphenol A (BPA) and per and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS).
Planet Ark entered into the partnership with Alliance Paper based on The Precautionary Principle, which states that:
When an activity raises threats of harm to human health or the environment, precautionary measures should be taken even if some cause and effect relationships are not fully established scientifically.
As part of our partnership, Planet Ark is proud to support Alliance Paper’s strategy for introducing safer and more environmentally responsible thermal paper rolls into the Australian market as they become viable. This strategy focuses on the removal of chemicals of concern, such as Phenol (including BPA), from thermal paper till receipts.
The first step is to limit the use of the low-cost industrial chemical BPA, which is increasingly causing concern over its potential impact on human health and ecotoxicity. In 2020, Planet Ark published a research report on the health and environmental impacts of BPA and its analogues.
The European Commission has published a regulation that severely restricts the use of BPA in thermal paper as of the beginning of 2020, effectively banning its use. Currently, there is no Government led or food standards program in Australia to respond to these global changes. Unfortunately, BPA can still be found in many thermal paper till receipts.
Alliance Paper has opted to use alternatives to BPA of its own accord to reduce the potential risk of ecotoxicity and human exposure to a potentially harmful chemical, including major changes within its operating model to protect staff. Its ultimate goal is to only produce thermal paper that is completely free of chemicals of concern, a move which Planet Ark wholeheartedly supports.
Alliance Paper's Phenol-free, FSC-certified thermal paper rolls are available for businesses to purchase today. For more information, contact Alliance Paper directly or order through their online store.
Based on the Precautionary Principle, Planet Ark advises Australians NOT to recycle thermal paper till receipts.
While most receipts including Alliance Paper’s Phenol free range are technically recyclable (that is, they can be pulped and fibres will be recovered), there are concerns about the actual processing of receipts and the fate of surface coatings.
Planet Ark's concern is that within Australia there are still receipts that are not Phenol free. These receipts are coated with Phenol compounds such as BPA and BPS, which are being phased out/banned in Europe. If the receipts coated in BPA and BPS are recycled, these chemicals will then enter the recycling stream. BPA and BPS are endocrine disruptors, that is, they mimic our hormones and those of animals and can disrupt our normal healthy systems.
There is potential therefore that these chemicals will enter the environment or even the recycled packaging. Planet Ark's concern is in line with the Precautionary Principle in that it is better to keep the chemicals out of the system. An individual has no way of discriminating between the safe Phenol free receipts and the receipts coated in BPA and BPS. Until Australian businesses are all using Phenol free receipts, it is generally seen as safer if Australians do not recycle any receipts. For more information on the issues associated with BPA and BPS, see our report The Health and Environmental Risks of Bisphenol A and its Analogues.
It is also not clear whether receipts will enter the paper stream if they are recycled. Generally it is considered smaller individual receipts will not enter the paper stream in a Materials Recycling Facility (MRF) as they do not make it through the process. Larger receipts or smaller receipts put inside an envelope may enter the paper stream for recycling, however, Planet Ark advises against this as the receipts may be coated with BPA or BPS.
Currently, the plastic cores used in thermal rolls are not recyclable and are sent to landfill, wasting huge amounts of reusable materials. Alliance Paper’s Core Reuse Program aims to divert these cores from landfill and send them back into recirculation through a collection and distribution system. Each core has the potential to be reused at least seven times before it is eventually disposed of, ensuring the maximum potential of the material is reached.
As thought leaders in the circular economy, Planet Ark supports the Core Reuse Program and is excited to work with Alliance Paper on the implementation of this program.
Planet Ark endorses Alliance Paper’s Rollo Wrap, an environmentally responsible alternative to plastic packaging products.
Learn more about Rollo Wrap.
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