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Rubbermaid Eliminates BPA in All SKUs

By: Lee Davis

What is BPA?
Bisphenol A is a building block of polycarbonate plastic, which is commonly used in the production of food and beverage containers and packaging. BPA is also used to make epoxy resins that coat the inside of food cans and bottle tops.

What’s the big deal?
There’s a lot of controversy over just how dangerous BPA may or may not be to consumers, but widespread human exposure and the results of animal studies have already prompted a few states to impose bans and restrictions on the sale of certain food and beverage containers containing BPA. Legislation is currently pending in several more states.

What products raise concerns?

It’s believed that water releases BPA from polycarbonate plastic through a leaching process. So naturally, concerns first arose over the use of polycarbonate plastic in baby bottles and water bottles. It follows that dry goods containers and items that don’t contact food or beverages directly should be safe. However the debate rages on and research continues.

What did Rubbermaid Commercial do?
In 2011, Rubbermaid Commercial Products decided not to enter the debate over BPA. It decided to eliminate the risk entirely along with any concerns about the safety of its products. In all, 169 Rubbermaid SKUs were affected, including items from their food storage, food preparation, table service and food transportation lines. Rubbermaid set out to manufacture all these SKUs from a BPA free compound. By February 2012, Rubbermaid Commercial will have achieved its goal!

What compound does Rubbermaid use now?
Rubbermaid has replaced polycarbonate plastic with a compound called Tritan. Tests show that Tritan is the equal to polycarbonate plastic in the areas of clarity, stain resistance, break resistance, chemical resistance, durability and cleanability. It also has the same NSF temperature rating of 212 degrees Farenheit. Tritan is not recommended for microwave use and will degrade a little faster than polycarbonate plastic if misused in a microwave, but on the upside, Tritan performs better than polycarbonate plastic in the dishwasher.

What about SKUs and labeling?
According to Marcy Kahn, Senior Key Account Manager for Rubbermaid Commercial, it will be “business as usual” from a SKU availability standpoint. Shipments will be mixed during the transition period and BPA free products and boxes will be marked with the labels shown below.

Will other manufacturers eliminate BPA?
If consumer concerns about BPA continue to grow, it’s likely that all manufacturers of polycarbonate plastic foodservice products will be pressured into seeking BPA free solutions. Until then, the only way to know for sure is to look for the “BPA Free” label on packaging and products, and use the label as a selling feature.