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Land-Sourced Litter

Current information on the topic of plastics in the environment

Eine Information von


Newsletter March 2023

Dear Readers,

This year once again, the BKV will, together with associations and companies in the plastics industry, be working on topics and measures to prevent plastics being discharged into the environment. In 2022, the BKV presented its "Special report on pellet losses", an initial estimate of the quantity of pellet losses taking place in Germany. Account was also taken here of the two industry initiatives entitled "Zero Granule Loss" and "Operation Clean Sweep", which have been dealing with this topic for several years. The findings obtained by all those involved in the value chain will now be pooled and, following this, any gaps will be identified and closed with the aim of more effectively preventing plastics from being discharged into the environment. You can read more on this subject in this newsletter. 

In addition, we report on new studies from around the world: A study from the University of Tel Aviv deals with the pollution of Israeli beaches with plastics. A cooperation project between the Karlsruhe Institute for Technology (KIT) with partners from the Netherlands and Australia is reported to have produced fresh findings on the monitoring of plastic litter in rivers, which indicate considerably higher quantities than assumed until now. We also report on an international cooperation project called BLUE LAKES. This project aims to prevent the discharge of microplastic into freshwater eco-systems and was initiated by Italian and German organisations in 2019. It is due to come to an end in the middle of this year. In a brief interview, we talked to one of the initiators, the Managing Director of the Global Nature Fund (GNF), Udo Gattenlöhner, about the project and the results so far. 

We wish you an interesting read and trust it will also be helpful in your work.  We also wish you every success and the best of health for the rest of the year that has just begun. 
Kind regards,

FCIO (Austrian Chemical Industry Association)
IK Industrievereinigung Kunststoffverpackungen e.V. (German Plastics Packaging Industry Association)
PlasticsEurope Deutschland e.V.
VDMA Association Plastics and Rubber Machinery

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Outlook for 2023: BKV project to prevent pellet losses 

As part of its focus on "Plastics in the Environment", the BKV intends in 2023 to continue working on the topic of pellet losses. In doing so, the BKV will follow on from its "Special report on pellet losses", which was published in 2022 and presents for the first time a volume-related estimate of the pellets discharged into the environment in Germany. The findings are now to be deepened and extended in cooperation with the plastics value chain, including the recyclers. The aim is to derive measures from this that the companies can apply and implement in order to prevent pellets being discharged into the environment. To support this, the findings are also to be made usable for national and European standardisation work. 

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From research and science

Study by the University of Tel Aviv on microplastics 

In a recent study conducted by Tel Aviv University in collaboration with the Israeli Research Centre for the Mediterranean Sea, a research team investigated the extent of microplastic pollution along the Israeli coast. The scientists collected sand samples from six beaches between Haifa and Ashkelon. According to the study, the Israeli coastline is polluted with more than two tons of microplastics, with Tel Aviv and Hadera beaches said to be the worst affected.


New findings on the monitoring of plastic waste in rivers 

A research team from the Karlsruhe Institute for Technology (KIT) has, in a study carried out with partners from the Netherlands and Australia, examined conventional assumptions as to what quantity of plastic waste is present in rivers, and how this plastic litter is further transported. According to their results, the quantity of plastic litter actually present in rivers could be up to 90 percent larger than previously assumed. The new findings from the study should help to improve the monitoring of plastic litter in rivers and to remove it from the waterways.

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Marine Litter als Lebensraum

From politics and industry

BMUV funds further projects to combat marine litter

As part of the programme "Marine Debris Framework – Regional hubs around the globe" (Marine:DeFRAG), the German Federal Environment Agency (BMUV) is to fund for the third time projects that actively contribute to sustainable production, marketing and utilisation of plastic products and thus to preventing the discharge of waste into the seas. For this, the Ministry will provide 25 million euros a year. Projects to establish disposal and recycling structures in countries in the Global South are also to be supported through the programme.

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”LIFE BLUE LAKES” project combats microplastic in lakes

In 2019, the Global Nature Fund (GNF), together with the Lake Constance Foundation and several Italian partners, launched the project "BLUE LAKES" to prevent the discharge of microplastic into freshwater ecosystems. Funded by the European Union's LIFE program, the project partners are working at several levels to reduce microplastic discharges into German and Italian lakes. As a central instrument, a “lakes paper” was developed in cooperation with the affected districts with a voluntary commitment to protect the waters from the input of microplastics. This lake charter is also to serve as a template for water protection worldwide. 

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"Microplastics have also arrived in our lakes"

Udo Gattenlöhner is an agricultural scientist and managing director of the Global Nature Fund (GNF), a non-profit foundation for the environment and nature founded in 1998 with its head office in Radolfzell on Lake Constance. The foundation coordinates among other things the international network Living Lakes, which has 135 member lakes, and operates worldwide for the protection of lakes and waterways. The Global Nature Fund, together with the Lake Constance Foundation and several Italian partners, founded the project "BLUE LAKES", which is actively supported among others by the plastics producers at Plastics Europe. The project is focused on the avoidance and reduction of the discharge of microplastics into lakes.

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Lefèvre, Jörg


Cleaning the seas of microplastic with gel from egg protein

American researchers from the University of Princeton working in aerospace technology have produced from egg protein a lightweight, highly porous aerogel, that is said to be suitable for removing microplastic from seawater. For this, the protein is freeze-dried and heated in an environment without oxygen to 900 °C until the desired aerogel structure is formed. According to the scientists, the resulting material removes microplastic from the water with an efficiency of more than 99 percent. 

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Plastics litter

“Hunting the invisible particles”

In its "Close-up" series, Deutsche Welle portrayed in a thirty-minute film the work of the "pioneer of microplastics research", Professor Dr. Christian Laforsch, and the team from the Collaborative Research Centre at the University of Bayreuth. As the film shows, some of the basic research on microplastics there involves the use of measuring equipment that was specially developed and built at the university. In the interdisciplinary team, scientists are also working together with the plastics industry on alternatives to conventional plastics that would not end up as microplastics in the environment.

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Editor: Barbara Simon
Fon: +49 2131 276 500

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