We all know, that plastics are a huge problem these days. Most people therefore separate their rubbish and throw plastic packaging in the yellow bag or in the yellow bin. But there is more that needs to be done. Because this plastic waste has to be sorted again,
The volume of plastics entering the environment is growing worldwide. Since existing regulations are not sufficient to curb the problem, the ever-increasing plastic production and use must be reduced. A systemic approach is needed that holds all actors responsible who produce, use, recycle, dispose and trade in plastic products and packaging.
Plastic pollution has become a major global risk. The European Union (EU) obligates all member states to implement measures according to the waste management hierarchy, with the highest priority given to waste prevention and reuse.Currently, several policies tackle the plastic crisis, while effective measures for prevention are hardly introduced.
Plastic waste is perceived as one of the major environmental problems of our times. Nevertheless, rates of consumption of plastic packaging are constantly increasing. Based on focus group discussions with German consumers this study identified personal and structural barriers that hinder a reduced plastic packaging consumption.
The high volume of plastic packaging currently consumed in Germany poses a complex socio-ecological risk. As part of the BMBF-funded ENSURE research consortium, environmental psychologists at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) in Potsdam have studied various policy options to promote a reduction in individual consumption of plastic food packaging.
For quality assurance of ecotoxicological studies with microplastics, minimum reporting requirements should be followed. This poster is a guideline for the use of these criteria.
Whether or not microplastics have harmful effects on plants and animals has not yet been conclusively established. The different properties of microplastics determine whether and how the microplastics are absorbed by living organisms and whether they are harmful to them.
Unlike conventional plastics, many bioplastics are biodegradable. This means that there are microorganisms such as bacteria and fungi that can absorb and metabolize these bioplastics as a source of energy.
Plastics can be discharged into the environment through industrial wastewater. To prevent this, special processes for the separation of plastics have been developed that can be integrated into industrial wastewater treatment plants.
This status report was prepared within the framework of the cross-cutting topic 1 "Analytics and reference materials" of the research focus. It summarizes the contents of the project discussions and coordination within the cross-cutting issue. The organization of this ongoing process of development or elaboration has been supported by several events.
It is not easy to determine how much microplastic is contained in wastewater and sewage sludge. In addition to plastic, countless other particles and substances are present. To reliably determine the concentration of microplastic particles, complex procedures for sampling as well as for removal of foreign substances and analysis of the microplastic particles are required.
"To assess the ecologic danger posed by microplastics, one must also consider indirect effects in the food web", say Sebastian Höss (Ecossa) and Marie-Theres Rauchschwalbe (Bielefeld University). The researchers from the joint project MikroPlaTaS looked at these effects using nematodes as an example.
Plastic is now ubiquitous not only in the sea but also in many inland waters. In certain areas, such as at barrages or in dams, the flow velocity decreases. As a result, the particles previously held in suspension by the current begin to sink to the bottom of the water and can then accumulate in the sediment.
Microplastics can enter our wastewater along the entire value chain. Removal options exist primarily in wastewater treatment plants, here in the form of filtration, flotation and sedimentation processes. The removal performance of wastewater treatment plants determines how much microplastic is discharged into the environment.