Press statement

Centre for Zero Waste and Development in Africa (CZWDA) to conduct research in PFAS in single - Use Paper Food Packaging: Throwaway Packaging - Forever Chemicals (From 25th May, 2022)

The Centre 4 Zero Waste and Development in Africa (CZWDA) has received funds from International Pollutants Elimination Network (IPEN) to conduct research in single use paper food packaging: Throwaway packaging- Forever chemicals. PFAS (Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) are an environmental and health concern because they (or their degradation products) are highly persistent, they have negative impacts on human fertility, foetal development, and thyroid hormone function. Currently, many different PFAS are used in a wide range of applications, and humans are also continuously exposed to PFAS.

PFAS are known to be widely used for food packaging. However, very limited information is available on the composition and concentrations of specific PFAS used in food contact materials. In general, these chemicals are commonly used by the paper- and pulp industry for producing disposable grease- and water-resistant food packaging and tableware items. PFAS can be added to the pulp or applied as coatings on the surface of paper or board. The grease-resistant function makes PFAS widely used in baking paper and cupcake cups, bakery bags, fast-food and take-away containers, microwave popcorn bags, and compostable tableware.

The Centre 4 Zero Waste and Development in Africa will collect evidence on the widespread use of PFAS in single-use food packaging, composition and concentration of specific PFAS, as well as to uncover levels of background (i.e., unintentional) contamination with PFAS in recycled paper packaging in selected towns in Zambia. The research data will be used to analyse the PFAS content in single-use paper food packaging, analyzing entire class of PFAS known to government regulators and Parties to the Stockholm Convention and create public awareness of concerns related to PFAS utilization in single-use paper food packaging including all concerned steps of paper food packaging lifecycle.

CZWDA is a member of IPEN which is a global network forging a healthier world where people and the environment are no longer harmed by the production, use, and disposal of toxic chemicals. Over 600 public interest NGOs in more than 120 countries, largely low- and middle-income nations, comprise IPEN and work to strengthen global and national chemicals and waste policies, contribute to ground-breaking research, and build a global movement for a toxics-free future.

Billy M. Lombe

Executive Director

Centre 4 Zero Waste and Development in Africa

Ng’answa Road, Civics Center
Press statement
Centre 4 Zero Waste & Development in Africa image
Centre 4 Zero Waste & Development in Africa
Climate change
Skills training
Zero waste
Policy and advocacy
A non-profit organisation that has been actively engaging the general public, the private sector, organisations, policy makers and local government in sustainable zero waste strategies and climate solutions, urgently addressing the challenges that waste management systems in Africa face. Since its establishment, The Centre for Zero Waste and Development in Africa (CZWDA) has so far trained more than 1000 teachers, local governments, parliamentarians and community leaders in zero waste solutions and climate change. The organisation has further engaged about 120,000 pupils and students to be active environmental agents in their communities. Their CEO, Mr. Billy Lombe is a Member and on the African board for 'Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives' and 'Break free from plastic'. He is also a member of IPEN.