Interview: Finding a solution requires cooperation between many players
Since the end of last year, the BKV has had a new managing director, namely Dr. Ingo Sartorius. Prior to this, Sartorius spent more than 25 years at Germany’s association of plastics producers, PlasticsEurope Deutschland, where he headed the “Man and the Environment” division (today: Climate Protection and Circular Economy). In this function, he also dealt with topics such as marine litter and plastics and the environment. In this interview, we ask him about the subject of plastics in the environment and the planned BKV projects dealing with this issue.
Read more … Interview: Finding a solution requires cooperation between many players
Global agreement against plastic litter in the environment
At the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) on 2 March in Nairobi, the representatives of the member states launched a legally binding international agreement against plastic pollution of the environment, for which it received much praise from politicians, environmental protection organisations and industry associations. The World Plastics Council as well as the German associations of the chemical and plastics industry all expressed a positive view of the agreement.
Read more … Global agreement against plastic litter in the environment
In the experts' opinion, the ban on plastic bags is a "symbolic step"
Since the beginning of 2022, plastic bags are not allowed to be sold over the counter. The ban covers single-use plastic bags with a film thickness of 15 to 50 micrometres. For Christian Laforsch, Professor for animal ecology and spokesman for the special research area of microplastics at the University of Bayreuth, the ban has above all a symbolic character. In his view, it serves to create awareness and stands for the problematic handling of plastic. Laforsch considers it necessary to have a true circular economy plus a higher regard for plastics.
Read more … In the experts' opinion, the ban on plastic bags is a "symbolic step"
US causes the most plastic waste
According to a US study, the United States of America is the biggest producer of plastic waste worldwide. In 2016, some 42 million tons of plastic waste was generated there – more than twice as much as was produced by China and more than all the countries of the European Union together, write the authors of an expert report. The report from the non-profit National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine was submitted to the US government, and contains a number of recommendations. Above all the production of new plastics should, in the opinion of the academies, be reduced.
Corals clean seawater of microplastic
According to a study from the Justus Liebig University in Gießen (JLU), reef-forming corals incorporate small plastic particles permanently into their calcareous skeleton and contribute in this way to cleaning the seawater of microplastic. For the study, Dr. Jessica Reichert and her team examined four types of coral that live in the Indopacific. They simulated a heavy microplastic pollution and subsequently analysed skeletons and tissue of the corals.
Team of volunteers collects data on microplastics in the sea
In early summer 2021, two women from Flensburg in northern Germany went fishing for microplastic in the North Sea and Baltic Sea. Nine sailing enthusiasts and a number of other volunteers assisted them in the so-called Citizen Science Project. The results will now be made available to science.
Read more … Team of volunteers collects data on microplastics in the sea
Report "Plastics in the Environment"
The report published in April is now also available in English. It is a further development of the model "From Land to Sea", which has been repeatedly updated in the last few years because expert discussion is now also very much concerned with discharges into the environment and where they finally end up. The BKV will therefore again be updating the discharge pathways model "From Land to Sea" with new data this year.
Joint project "TextileMission" is concluded
After a good three and a half years of research, the joint project "TextileMission", which was funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), has been concluded and the results have been published in a detailed final report. The report says that, in Germany, around ten tonnes of microplastic are released every year through the wearing and washing of sportswear such as fleece jackets and sports shirts and vests. 93 to 97 percent of the particles smaller than 5 millimetres and larger than 5 micrometres are retained in the treatment plants which means that between 100 kilogramme and 1.3 tonnes are released into the environment every year.
Analysis of innovative solutions
On the topic of marine litter, a team at the Helmholtz Centre Hereon (www.hereon.de), headed by research scientist Nikoleta Bellou, has published, in the specialist journal Nature Sustainability, a comprehensive analysis of solutions for the prevention, monitoring and cleaning of plastic waste that has been discharged into the environment. The team comes to the conclusion that there is a need for more funding, more networking between the parties involved, and a greater political will to find solutions.
Microplastics in agricultural soil
According to the intermediate result of an ongoing study on the documentation, evaluation and prevention of microplastic in composts and digestate from biowaste recycling units and their discharge into agricultural soil (MiKoBo), just under 450 tonnes of microplastics are discharged annually throughout Germany via composts and liquid digestate products. Of this, plastic sheet and film account for 146 tonnes and rigid plastics for 302 tonnes. The research project is funded by the German State of Baden-Württemberg and also involves the universities of Stuttgart, Hohenheim and Bayreuth as well as the Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology, ICT.