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PFAS-Free Paper Food Packaging Alternatives: A Resource for Restaurants and Retailers

People's hands buying a burger wrapped in paper

To access this free resource, fill out this form. Paper food packaging manufacturers can keep us up to date on product lines that are free of intentionally added PFAS for inclusion on this list by contacting [email protected].

2020 has brought an uptick in dining to-go and grocery store shopping, and for good reason: to keep us all safe from Covid-19. But with mounting scientific evidence of toxic chemicals in food packaging materials, consumers are now demanding more than ever before that fast food chains and major grocery retailers provide take out and convenience foods in packaging that is free of PFAS chemicals*. And, now a new resource from Toxic-Free Future can help chains and retailers make this important switch. Two recent reports released by Toxic-Free Future and the Mind the Store campaign provide evidence showing the likely use of PFAS in packaging used to hold ready-to-eat foods: Packaged in Pollution: Are food chains using PFAS in packaging? (2020) and Take Out Toxics: PFAS Chemicals in Food Packaging (2018).

As they face pressure to phase out PFAS, restaurant chains and retailers are asking what they should use instead.  With consumer demand increasing and even more state restrictions in the pipeline, the market for PFAS-free paper food packaging alternatives has broken wide open. Many alternatives exist, with new ones becoming available all the time.

Toxic-Free Future’s new guide—Alternatives to Paper Food Packaging Containing PFAS—offers policymakers, quick service restaurant chains, and grocery retailers a living list of PFAS-free products, their manufacturers, and links to their websites. It also links to the Mind the Store campaign’s informative guidance documents for companies that want to make the shift to PFAS-free options.  We call the new resource a living document because we will update it as the market changes and we discover new options.

With states including Washington, Maine, and New York, as well as cities like San Francisco and Berkeley, CA banning the use of these highly toxic and cancer-causing “forever chemicals” in paper food packaging, we expect the market to continue to move away from PFAS and toward safer alternatives. Major retailers and restaurants including Panera Bread, Taco Bell, Chipotle, Whole Foods Market, Sweetgreen, Cava, and Freshii have already started the switch, and we hope this new resource can help pave the way for faster replacement of PFAS-containing food packaging.


*PFAS, a large class of highly fluorinated organic compounds, are used to make materials grease- and water-resistant, and for many industrial applications. PFAS have been linked to serious health impacts including cancer, hormone disruption, liver and kidney toxicity, reproductive and developmental harm, and harm to the immune system  They do not break down, earning them the nickname “forever chemicals.” Nearly everyone in the US carries a body burden of these dangerous chemicals.