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Land-Sourced Litter

Current information on the topic of plastics in the environment

Eine Information von


Newsletter June 2023

Dear Readers,

With its projects and studies in the field of "Plastics in the Environment", BKV aims to contribute to a fact-based discussion of the topic. The update of the model "From Land to Sea", which is now available, gives a comprehensive picture of how, where and in what quantities land-sourced plastic waste enters the environment in Germany. The study, which has been further developed and supplemented with new data and facts over the past ten years – also in exchange with science and the authorities – also takes into account the terrestrial environment and the aspect of pellet losses, based on the findings of earlier BKV studies. This means that the discharge pathways are now examined in greater depth, and thus further starting points for reduction measures are identified. You can read more about this in this newsletter.

To prevent littering and thus the discharge of plastic waste into the environment, orderly waste collection and efficient recycling are essential. This is particularly evident in countries where there are still no or only selective disposal structures, such as in Southeast Asia. There, the lack of collection and recycling systems means that plastic waste is released into the environment in an uncontrolled manner, polluting seas, coastal regions, rivers and the surrounding countryside. An implementation guide from the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), which we report on in our newsletter, aims to show how waste can be successfully and efficiently collected and recycled in these regions. 

A special highlight of this newsletter is the interview with Dr. Bernhard Bauske, Senior Advisor of the Marine Litter Reduction Program at WWF. He gives us an insight into his work and also makes recommendations from his many years of expertise and experience, be it from the people directly on the ground in Asia or in political, international talks, for example in the framework of the G7/G20 or also APEC on the way to a global framework for combating marine litter.

We also report on the results of other interesting studies such as the discovery of bacteria that are said to be able to absorb and digest plastic, and an enzyme which, according to recent research, can degrade PET in record time.

We wish you an interesting read and trust the contents will also be useful in your work.

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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Updated model on discharge pathways 

In 2013, Conversio Market & Strategy GmbH, on BKV's behalf and supported by German and Austrian plastics industry associations, developed a new calculation model to estimate the amounts of improperly disposed-of plastic waste entering the oceans entitled "From Land to Sea - Model for the documentation of land-sourced plastic litter". This methodological approach, recognised in expert circles, to systematically record, structure and quantitatively assess the most important discharge pathways and sources of improperly disposed-of plastics into the oceans, has now been updated and is available in its 5th version. 

more …
Marine Litter at river

From research and science

Bacteria eat and digest plastic in the sea

Researchers from the Netherlands at the Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ) undertook a search of so-called "missing plastic", and found a possible answer in laboratory experiments: UV light from the sun breaks down the waste into tiny particles, which in turn are ingested and then metabolised by bacteria. With these research findings, the scientists provide evidence that bacteria do indeed digest plastic into CO2 and other molecules.

more …
Marine Litter Plastic in the Ocean

Research team discovers speed enzyme for the degradation of PET 

Researchers at the University of Leipzig have discovered an enzyme that breaks down PET in record time. It has been known for some time that some enzymes, so-called polyester-cleaving hydrolases, can also degrade PET. But until now, the degradation process took too long to be of interest for commercial use. The research team has now discovered a "candidate" with which, for example, PET packaging from the supermarket should be completely degradable in less than a day.

more …
University Leipzig Christian Sonnendecker

Plastic waste in the Arctic stems from all over the world

In a citizen science project, participants of Arctic trips collected litter on the beaches of Spitzbergen for a scientific survey. The origin and composition of the collected plastic debris were analysed by the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research. According to the study, published in the journal Frontiers in Marine Science, one third of the clearly identifiable plastic litter comes from Europe and some of it also from Germany.

AWI plastic waste from the arctic

From politics and industry

UN agrees on global high seas treaty

During an intergovernmental conference in New York at the beginning of March, the international community agreed on a new treaty to protect the world's oceans. For the first time, binding rules for marine areas beyond national jurisdiction are to be made possible: Marine protected areas, environmental impact assessments and other measures are to better protect threatened species and habitats in the future. During the negotiations, Germany, together with the EU, had pushed for an ambitious treaty.

more …

APEC guideline: Avoiding plastics in the environment through organised waste management

The Oceans and Fisheries Working Group (OFWG) of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) has published a guide to provide smaller cities and municipalities in the Asia-Pacific economic region with the knowledge to set up reliable waste collection systems to help reduce the land-sourced discharge of waste into the oceans. Using successful projects, the guide aims to show how waste can be collected and recycled at source very efficiently and cost-effectively using technologically simple means. WWF, the World Wide Fund for Nature, was also involved in an exemplary pilot project in the Vietnamese city of Tan An. 

more …
APEC Guidelines Waste Collection


“Stop discharges directly at source”

Dr. Bernhard Bauske has been active in the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) in Germany since 1993 and has been Project Coordinator for "Marine Litter" in the Marine Conservation department since 2017. His work focuses on coordinating projects to reduce plastic waste, improving waste management systems and packaging design. Before joining WWF, the biologist completed his doctorate at the Institute of Soil Science in Hamburg.

more …
Bernhard Bauske WWF Germany


EU funds "SeaClear2.0" project for waste disposal in the sea

The EU is contributing around eight million euros to the "SeaClear2.0" project, with which a group of European scientists aims to combat marine pollution among other things with the help of an autonomous robot system. The four-year project will involve three major pilot tests in the Mediterranean Sea before the autonomous system is deployed. 

more …
Graphic SeaClear2.0

Ocean Cleanup intends to use System 003

According to reports from "The Ocean Cleanup", participants in the project carried out by the Dutch initiative that was launched ten years ago are now preparing to introduce a new system for cleaning the oceans of plastic waste. It will reportedly be three times larger than the "System 002" used so far. The floating barrier, which will then be nearly two and a half kilometres long, is designed to remove waste from the water more efficiently – above all in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

more …
Ocean Cleanup System 003

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Editor: Barbara Simon
Fon: +49 2131 276 500

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