Cross-Cutting Topic 4

Prof. Dr. Ruth Müller
(Technical University of Munich; SubμTrack)
Dr. Thomas Decker
(City of Straubing; VerPlaPoS)

Contacts PlastikNet
Doris Knoblauch
(Ecologic Institute)
Linda Mederake
(Ecologic Institute)

Cross-Cutting Topic 4: Social and Political Dimension of Plastics in the Environment


  • to provide room for exchange among scientists with social, economic and political science backgrounds from the joint research projects
  • to identify and capitalize from similar methodological approaches and  thematic complementarities through regular meetings
  • To prevent possible thematic duplication

Status of work

So far, the members of the working group have dealt in particular with the perception of plastics by citizens and consumers as well as with legal and political standardisation, legal measures and self-regulation. To increase the visibility of social science research on plastics in the environment, the following joint activities were realised:

  • An infographic for the presentation of social, economic and political science research in the research focus.
  • A "White Paper", which focuses on the problem definition of plastics in the environment from the perspective of social science research. To this end, the paper critically examines existing role assignments of responsibilities in the public debate. Among other things, it explains the variety of addressees for regulation, while appeals to consumers have dominated the public discussion and reporting so far.

Another paper will focus on possible solutions and is planned for autumn 2020.


It is envisaged to work on additional joint publications (special issue or anthology) in the future. The aim is to further anchor the areas of consumption, politics and society with regards to plastics in the scientific community. The cross-cutting topic offers ideal conditions to sustainably expand the social and political dimensions of the subject area "Plastics in the Environment", which have so far received relatively little attention.


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