One in four substances recovered from waste have been found to be non-compliant with the EU chemicals regulation REACH.
The European Chemicals Agency’s (ECHA) Enforcement Forum said the results of a pilot enforcement project showed 26% of checked substances were in breach of REACH, which stands for the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and restriction of chemicals.
The project covered substances that had lost their status of 'waste' and acquired the status of 'end of waste' (EoW) based on the criteria of the EU’s Waste Framework Directive, and that were then marketed in the EU.
Inspectors checked 46 cases of recovered materials to find out if substances recovered from waste met the conditions for exemption from REACH registration.
Firstly, they examined if the recovered and registered substances were the same and, secondly, if information on safe use was available.
Safety data sheets (SDSs) were provided with recovered substances and mixtures in 96% of the cases.
Where SDSs were lacking information, the main concern was unclear substance identity; here, 37% of the inspected cases did not meet the main CLP (classification, labelling and packaging of chemicals) regulation requirements.
According to the Enforcement Forum, non-compliances found during the pilot project led to written advice, fines and administrative orders.
Following pilot’s findings, the Enforcement Forum recommended that waste operators placing recovered substances on the market should contact national authorities and helpdesks to gain knowledge about their substances.
They should also be aware how the substances will be used by their customers.
It further suggested the ECHA look into revising its current ‘Guidance on waste and recovered substances’.
Waste not want not
The transformation of waste materials into usable ones has been embraced by companies selling cosmetic ingredients and by beauty brands alike.
Upcycled remains a hugely popular claim among new ingredient launches.
New-to-the-market active ingredients that derive from repurposed waste materials include CALMandrin from Mibelle Biochemistry, which comes from the upcycled peel paste of organic mandarins; Givaudan’s scalp-soothing Patchoul’Up, made using distilled patchouli leaves post-use in fragrance creation; and Provital’s well-ageing ingredient Pomarage, made from upcycled apple pomace.
Where brands like UpCircle pioneered in the upcycled space with post-consumer coffee grounds, new launches like Brad Pitt’s vineyard-inspired Le Domaine contain skin care active ingredients derived from grape and vine refuse.
The transformation of emissions into usable cosmetic materials is also being adopted by our industry.
Companies including Coty and Givaudan are working with carbon recycling firm LanzaTech to obtain upcycled ethanol and aroma ingredients.