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ERMA to declare polymers non hazardous

Plastics industry works with ERMA to declare polymers non hazardous

The Environmental Risk Management Authority has determined that seven commonly used groups of plastics are not hazardous. The seven applications to determine if these groups of plastics were hazardous were submitted by Plastics New Zealand (Inc). These decisions mark the first stage of an initiative by the industry group to formally confirm that the main groups of polymers, commonly used by the plastics industry in New Zealand, are not hazardous and therefore not subject to the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act.

The Authority decisions are the result of an initiative by Plastics New Zealand to work with ERMA New Zealand to identify which polymers groups could be determined non-hazardous. Joanna Wojnar, an organic chemist, was contracted by Plastics New Zealand to carry out the research. ERMA New Zealand in turn contributed by waiving the cost of processing the applications.

The polymer groups determined as non-hazardous include certain fluoropolymers, polyethers, polyamides, polyesters, polyolefins, polycarbonates and vinyl polymers, in their pure state without additives.

Plastics New Zealand, an association of plastics manufacturers and plastics raw materials suppliers, has a total of 166 members, representing more than three-quarters of the plastics industry in New Zealand. This technical work has benefited not only the Plastics New Zealand members but the plastics industry nationwide.

Carolyn Cox, Manager for Environmental Affairs with Plastics New Zealand said “The great news is that we have formal confirmation by ERMA New Zealand that the polymers we work with are not hazardous in their pure state. It’s a win-win situation. For ERMA New Zealand having these polymers determined non hazardous means they do not need to be transferred as part of Notified Toxic substances. For the Plastics Industry, it demonstrates that we are able to comply with new legislation and we are pleased to be able to confirm to the public that the substances we work with are not hazardous.”

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