The entity warns residents not to fill water or food in used chemical containers
Reusing empty paint and varnish containers to store water or food creates a risk of disease due to absorption of toxic agents. With the arrival of the water crisis in the country, the alert comes from the Brazilian Association of Steel Packaging, which, among other tasks, is working to raise consumer awareness about the conscious use and recycling of packaging. “Given the water crisis that will intensify in the second half of the year, we consider it necessary to issue this alert to the population,” says Thai Faguri, food engineer and president of Abeaço.
A study conducted by the Center for Packaging Technology of the State of São Paulo (CETEA), at the request of Abeaço, tested the transfer of toxic agents to foods and beverages packed in two types of packaging: plastic buckets and steel cans. In both cases, the packaging was used to store water-based paints, without petroleum-derived solvents. The study revealed the migration of elements, mostly in plastic buckets, such as phthalates, as well as Tertbutane, Ciclos eisno, Toluene, Ethylbenzene and Xylene, some of which have been linked to serious illness.
The Abeaço chief clarifies, however, that the ink refills cannot be reused. This is because immigration and unintended use of food and beverage packaging, including water, is prohibited by ANVISA. “We believe that reused packaging that is filled with paints with petroleum-based solvents, such as oil paints, could bring more health risks,” explains the food engineer.
In plastic buckets, the situation is even more delicate, because food marketing buckets are very similar to those that package paints and labels are easily removed, preventing consumers from knowing what kind of material is used for packaging.
The CETEA study recommends that manufacturers of products packaged in appropriate packaging for chemical products warn end consumers not to reuse them, especially for food and beverages. “As an entity representing the steel packaging sector, although we recognize the impossibility of reusing paint and varnish cans, we consider it necessary to give this warning to residents, especially at this time when many families will need to keep water at home.”
The executive points out that, all too often, consumers confuse recycling with reuse. “Recycling is getting rid of the packaging in the right way, so that it can be reassessed,” Thais say.
The steel packaging sector already has a reverse logistics program approved by the Ministry of the Environment, which includes the installation of voluntary delivery points (PEVs) for empty paint and food cans, cooperatives, pools, warehouses and steel mills, which iteratively transforms steel cans. It concludes that “steel cans are 100% recyclable”.
Founded in May 2003, the Brazilian Association of Steel Packaging (Abeaço) was created with the aim of enhancing the image of steel packaging, as well as providing technical and marketing support to its manufacturers. Not for profit, the entity invests in and supports environmental management initiatives, especially when linked to a social objective, bringing the interests of the entire production chain closer together. The Foundation joins efforts to promote research, develop awareness campaigns, participate in events and publicize the properties of steel cans. Today, the association brings together companies in this sector, interacting extensively with business entities, packaging manufacturers, environmental organizations and government.
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