Chemicals in Compostable Food Contact Paper Packaging Materials

ARC Linkage Project

The aim of this project is to understand the presence of persistent chemicals in recyclable and compostable food contact materials (FCMs). These types of products are destined for recycling or biowaste streams that bridge the gap from take-make-dispose into a circular economy. This would change the current production and consumption method to a more sustainable one, which involves reusing, repairing, refurbishing, and recycling existing products for as long as possible. Currently, the knowledge of the chemicals in these products is limited, but we need to ensure that they are safe and do not unnecessarily contaminate resource recovery streams where waste is sorted to extract all materials that can be reused or recycled. It is expected that this project will develop a framework that could be used by industry and government to prevent chemicals of concern from persisting in a circular economy. This will provide substantial environmental and economic benefits through the reduced risk of chemical exposure and avoiding unnecessary remediation costs.

Research Outputs

Dewapriya, P., Chadwick, L., Gorji, S.G., Schulze, B., Valsecchi, S., Samanipour, S., Thomas, K.V. and Kaserzon, S.L., 2023. Per-and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in consumer products: current knowledge and research gaps. Journal of Hazardous Materials Letters, p.100086.

Grant Support

This project is part of an ARC Linkage grant in collaboration with the following partners:

  • Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation Ltd
  • Australian Organics Recycling Association Limited
  • Eurofins Environment Testing Australia Pty Ltd
  • New South Wales Department of Planning and Environment
  • Queensland Government Department of Environment and Science
  • Queensland Health
  • Candy Soil Holdings
  • Food Packaging Forum Foundation
  • Norwegian Institute for Water Research


Project members

A/Prof Sarit Kaserzon

Co-Theme Leader, Environmental Health Risk Assessment

Dr Xianyu (Fisher) Wang

Senior Research Fellow

Dr Sara Ghorbani Gorji

Research Fellow