March 13, 2024


Brussels, 13 March 2024 – FEAD (the European Waste Management Association) is pleased to announce the publication of our scientific article titled ‘The Presence of PFAS in Wastes and Related Implications on the Current and Proposed European Regulatory Framework: A Systematic Critical Review’ in Detritus, the multidisciplinary journal for Circular Economy and Sustainable Management of Residues. This comprehensive study was commissioned by FEAD in response to the ‘PFAS ban’ proposal submitted by several Member States to ECHA in 2023. It was conducted in collaboration with the University of Padova and sheds light on the presence of Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in various waste streams (paper, cardboard, textile and metal) and its implications on European legal mechanisms.

The article, authored by the late Alberto Pivato, Giovanni Beggio, Stefano Maggi, Francesco Marrone, Tiziano Bonato, Federico Peres, Wei Peng, and Maria Cristina Lavagnolo, represents the culmination of months of research. It provides a state-of-the-art review of PFAS and examines the potential impact of proposed restrictions under REACH on the circular economy. For this study, nearly 5000 single concentration values from various waste streams were collected, of which only a small number of cases exceeded the considered limit. The instances where this limit was surpassed ranged from less than 1% for paper and cardboard waste to 8% for textiles and leather waste.

This research is particularly significant as the use of PFAS is widespread, yet relevant knowledge on its impact in waste management is scarce. There is a pressing need for understanding and managing PFAS, especially considering the recent restriction on the placing on the market of food contact packaging containing the chemical above certain thresholds, which was agreed between the Council and the Parliament for the new Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation.

For this reason, the publication of this article marks a important milestone in the ongoing efforts to understand and address the challenges posed by PFAS contamination in wastes. FEAD remains committed to advancing knowledge and promoting sustainable solutions in this critical area. As the FEAD community mourns the loss of a dear friend and colleague, Professor Alberto Pivato, we want to thank him for his work on this study. The research couldn’t have been completed without him, and his contributions and joyful spirit will forever be remembered.

Paolo Campanella, FEAD Secretary General commented:

‘This article is the result of months of collaborative effort between researchers and FEAD. FEAD is proud to have been a part of this initiative, which contributes valuable insights into the complex issue of PFAS in wastes.’

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Read the scientific article here

FEAD is the European Waste Management Association, representing the private waste and resource management industry across Europe, including 19 national waste management federations and 3,000 waste management companies. Private waste management companies operate in 60% of municipal waste markets in Europe and in 75% of industrial and commercial waste. This means more than 320,000 local jobs, fuelling €5 billion of investments into the economy every year. For more information, please contact: