In this review, Ecologic Institute's Doris Knoblauch and Linda Mederake analyse the subject focus of 45 articles (published 2019–2021), dealing with government action to regulate plastic pollution. Policies described in the articles and introduced between 2016 and 2021 are clustered in four categories: production – consumption – disposal – circular approaches. The article is open access and available for download.
In this blog we present the most exciting, innovative, current and urgent findings from the research focus "Plastics in the Environment". Plastic waste in the environment is a global problem with unforeseeable ecological consequences. Yet we still know far too little about how plastic enters the environment, how it spreads in rivers, oceans and in the soil and how it affects humans and animals. In order to close these knowledge gaps, Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research launched the research priority "Plastics in the Environment - Sources - Sinks - Solutions" in 2017.
Plastic waste, plastic parts and microplastics can be found everywhere in the environment. Plastic particles are also detected in living organisms. But what exactly is the situation? To find out, the German Ministry of Research is funding the research priority "Plastics in the Environment" with around 40 million euros. Some of the results of the 20 funded research projects are presented in this video. Further results of the research projects as well as information on the activities of the research focus are available on the website.
This status report was prepared within the framework of the cross-cutting issue 1 "Analytics and reference materials" of the research focus Plastics in the Environment. 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 between 2018 and 2020.
This compendium, published by Ecologic Institute, aims to sharpen relevant terms and thereby aims to contribute to the heterogeneity of the scientific community on "plastics in the environment". In addition, the brochure is intended to help ensure that communication with and by non-scientific actors on the topic is based on a terminologically correct foundation, especially in emotionally charged debates. After all, these debates are often highly relevant in shaping our future, and it seems important that the necessary political, social and economic decisions should be taken based on knowledge and factual information. The compendium is available for download.
The current issue of the journal KW Korrespondenz Wasserwirtschaft (03/2021) focuses on plastics in the environment. The thematic issue contains articles from the collaborative projects PLASTRAT, RUSEKU, SubμTrack, MikroPlaTaS and PlastikBudget.
This article by Doris Knoblauch and Hannes Schritt (both Ecologic Institute) is part of the anthology "Einfach weglassen? Ein wissenschaftliches Lesebuch zur Reduktion von Plastikverpackungen im Lebensmittelhandel" (Simply Omit? A Scientific Reader on the Reduction of Plastic Packaging in the Food Trade). It deals with the emergence of plastic packaging in Germany and its known environmental impacts. The authors demonstrate that there is a close correlation between the amount of plastic packaging produced and the gross domestic product (GDP) - which, interestingly, is stronger than the correlation between GDP and packaging overall. In this context, avoidance strategies and improvement options for the circular economy are discussed.
The discussion about plastic waste is anything but new for German municipalities. In fact, as early as the 1980s, numerous German municipalities were experimenting with plastic waste prevention regulations and waste prevention in general. A further impetus for plastic waste prevention was provided in the early 1990s with the discussions on the introduction of a nationwide packaging ordinance. After almost three decades of stagnation – including setbacks with regard to the expansion of return systems and the increase of single-use packaging – the issue of plastic prevention and packaging reduction in municipalities is now receiving renewed attention as a result of increased societal awareness and political regulations at EU level.
Plastics are all around us and make up an essential part of our daily lives. How much do we know about this material, its variety, the associated environmental problems and possible solutions? The quiz "Plastics in the environment - What do you know?" invites you to test your knowledge around the topic of plastics in five categories. Furthermore, the category "Questions for adults & children" contains questions suited for children.
This PIXI book was created in the context of "Plastics in the Environment", a research focus coordinated by the Ecologic Institute. It tells the story of Samia, Johann and their babysitter Tom, who discover a seagull tangled up in a plastic bag on a riverside. After the children have freed the seagull with the help of their babysitter, they explore the reasons for the bird's fate. Tom explains to them how plastic gets from land to sea, how long it remains in nature and how to avoid it in everyday life with simple decisions.
We all separate waste. But that is not enough. We have to make sure that garbage is not produced in the first place. All resources have to be recycled again and again in cycles. At the Sustainability Forum of Neumarkter Lammsbräu, Lisa Fiedler of the VAUDE Sustainability Academy, Prof. Dr. Michael Braungart of Cradle to Cradle, Timothy Glaz of Werner & Mertz GmbH and Hannes Schritt of Ecologic Institute Berlin discussed how fast we have to be to save our planet.
This background paper provides an overview of existing and new laws and initiatives regarding plastics in Germany and the EU. Despite the multitude of approaches, guidelines and laws, regulatory gaps remain. The greatest need for action exists in the areas of strengthening recycling and use of recycled plastics as well as waste prevention. Waste prevention remains the unwanted child in the resource discourse, although it almost always represents the best option in terms of environmental policy.
From 10 to 14 February 2020, the five-day PhD-WinterSchool "Plastics in the Environment" of the BMBF research focus "Plastics in the Environment – Sources ● Sinks ● Solutions" took place in Döllnsee, Brandenburg.