Fatty acids and other chemicals derived from animal fats are used to make plastics. These chemicals, used as aids to facilitate the processing, are blended into many common plastics, including those used for bowls, bags, and other food containers.
Moreover, it is commonly recognized , even by the FDA, that some of the additives may migrate or leach to the surface and actually combine with the foodstuffs they contain, especially when there is a change of temperature (to hot or cold). (Have you noticed an oily film on tea or coffee in a styrofoam cup?)
Worse yet, a fair portion of these chemicals are produced from the 35% to 55% of slaughtered animals considered unfit for human consumption.
Manny Volk, CEO of Premier Technologies Group Inc., made these revelations at a press conference, December 18, 2000, in New York City during the World Jewish Expo Trade Show.
His interest in the subject, and resolve to market an alternative, had been sparked by a gift of plastic bowls he had made to his daughter-in-law. She, apologetically, could not accept them, saying she kept a kosher kitchen.
Volk looked into the matter. He found out that the majority of plastics use additives such as calcium stearate, zinc stearate, and glycerol monostearate, derived from tallow (fat from cows and sheep) and sometimes even from lard (fat from pigs).
We were not surprised to hear this, having known that rendering plant fats are used in plastics, as is casein (a milk protein).
Ignorance is bliss! Vegans have assumed a blind eye for the unavoidable, while choosing alternatives (such as glass jars for their brown rice and lentils) where possible. New Forumula for Plastics: No Animal Ingredients When we talked to Volk and Del Riley, a Primier representative, we were pleased to learn of a new initiative being taken in the field of food storage plastics. Volk, whose main career interest is in space materials research, is offering a pioneering solution, through subsidiaries of Premier Technologies Group Inc.
Premier Classic (R) is the kitchenware division presently test-marketing several sizes of storage lids and containers that are free of all animal ingredients. (They are similar to Tupperware (R) and Rubbermaid (R) products; they differ in the raw materials composition.) Premier Classic's line is dishwasher-, microwave-, and freezer-safe.
A program to certify packaging materials made without animal ingredients as "Ethically and Religiously Compliant (ERC" has been instituted by Premier in partnership with the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations and the U.S. Halal (Muslim) Chamber. Vegans, vegetarians, Jews, and others, will welcome this move.
Premier is also offering suitable polypropylene and polyethylene resins (for making plastic foodservice containers and wrappings) to industry, thereby encouraging a general transition.
Manufacturing bases are in Andover, New Jersey and Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
Premier headquarters address:
World INdustries Center,
313 Liberty St,
Lancaster, PA 17603
Phone (sales): 717 392-3111
Note: The prime source of chemicals for making synthetic plastics is petroleum. Coal, and cellulose are also used.
(American Vegan, Spring 2001)