Along with providing high-quality paper-based packaging solutions, Seaman Paper has long been a leader in the food service industry. This standing continues with the release of EcoLite, our new line of PFAS-free grease-resistant paper for basket liners, sandwich wraps and more. This new product allows restaurants, packaging distributors and others in the food service industry to remove harmful chemicals from the food supply chain, creating a safer and more sustainable future.
The Problem with PFAS
Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances—commonly known as PFAS—are a group of chemicals used to make fluoropolymer coatings. These fluorochemicals have been commonly used in paper products such as popcorn bags, shoes, rugs, rain jackets, and firefighting foams. According to the FDA, there are more than 5,000 different types of PFAS. The reason they’ve been used in paper products in the food industry since the 1940s is that they make the paper resistant to heat, oil, stains, grease, and water, making them more stable, which can help contain and protect food products. However, recent research suggests that these chemicals appear to carry some negative effects.
Many chemicals in this group do not break down properly in the environment. This results in the chemicals passing through soils and wastewater treatment systems, which can contaminate drinking water sources. They then bioaccumulate in humans and animals, where they can stay in the body for long periods of time. Studies have also suggested they’re linked to increased cholesterol levels, as well as other negative effects on immune systems such as infant birth weights and even cancer. Other health concerns include fertility problems, liver damage, thyroid disease, and reduced hormone function.
When hot food contacts papers with these chemicals, it triggers a rapid release of the PFAS, which then enter consumers’ food, resulting in quick and easy consumption of the chemicals. In fact, upon testing for PFAS levels in the U.S. population, the CDC recently found indications of widespread exposure, emphasizing how easily this group of chemicals enters the body.
Seaman Paper created EcoLite as a PFAS-free alternative to the products currently on the market. The new line features a biopolymer (plant-based) coating that is compostable and recyclable, meaning it has a minimal impact on the environment. Plus, EcoLite has heat retention and moisture release properties, allowing it to perform at the same levels as traditional grease-resistant paper, ensuring products stay at optimal temperatures while keeping the food in optimal condition.
“Many grease-resistant papers on the market today—from the biggest fast food chains to mom and pop standalone restaurants and everywhere in between—have this dangerous PFAS coating,” said Seaman Paper Vice President of Food Service Sales and Marketing Jamie Jones Jr. “EcoLite is PFAS-free and performs for many of the same applications as standard grease-resistant papers. It’s a no-brainer; everyone should be transitioning to this new grade for their own health and the health of the environment.”
Seaman Paper offers EcoLite in stock and custom printing to ensure that the pictures always showcase your brand identity. And the grease-resistant properties of the EcoLite paper ensure that your branding won’t get ruined by the food itself.
Recognizing the importance of removing PFAS from the supply chain, Seaman Paper has priced EcoLite the same as its existing grease-resistant paper; both stock and custom printing options are available. Our goal is to encourage our customers to transition to this new grade of health-focused, eco-friendly paper with no added cost. We will be discontinuing sales of the two existing grades of grease-resistant paper currently in use by the end of 2021 in attempt to reduce the amount of PFAS in the food service industry.
To learn more about EcoLite, as well as the history of fluorochemical use and their negative effects, head to Restaurant Wraps’ website.