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.
On 9 April 2019, Doris Knoblauch, Senior Fellow at Ecologic Institute, moderated a panel discussion on the political and social dimensions of plastics in the environment. Participants presented the first social science results of their collaborative projects and discussed possible courses of action
On 10 and 11 October 2019, experts from the Korean Environmental Ministry, Korean Environmental Industry & Technology Institute, Korean Institute of Analytical Science and Technology and the University of Seoul visited the Umweltbundesamt (UBA) and the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung (BAM) in Berlin. Together with colleagues from BAM, UBA and Ecologic Institute they presented and discussed current developments in research in Germany and Korea on micropollutants and plastic in the environment, especially in water and food. Ulf Stein from Ecologic Institute and deputy coordinator of the four-year project PlastikNet, which is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) presented on research activities of the research focus 'Plastics in the environment' in Germany.
This article by Ecologic Institute's Linda Mederake and Doris Knoblauch uses a structuring qualitative content analysis to investigate the parliamentary debates of two recently adopted plastic policies in the EU – namely the EU Plastics Strategy and the Single-Use Plastics Directive – and assess the relevance of public health and environmental arguments for the EU debate.
On 10 September 2019, the final conference of the project "Mikroplastik im Wasserkreislauf" (Microplastics in the Water Cycle, MaWi for short) took place in Karlsruhe. The project results were presented and discussed at the event. A poster exhibition was also organized as part of the conference. Some of the posters are available on the event website.
There are numerous regulatory approaches for handling plastic products and plastic waste in various areas such as waste and recycling policy, marine protection or chemicals policy. During the workshop, Linda Mederake gave an insight into existing plastic regulations and initiatives at the international, European and national levels to reduce the amount of plastics entering the environment. She critically discussed what stages in the life cycle of plastics are targeted by political solutions and she also highlighted regulatory gaps.