PLASTRAT

PLASTRAT

Strategies for Reducing the Entry of Urban Plastics into Limnic Systems
Description

The common element of all investigations in PLASTRAT is the development of solution strategies for sustainable limitation of the spread of plastic residues in the aquatic environment on technical, environmental, scientific and social-ecological levels. The objective consists of developing a multi-criteria evaluation approach for the environmental compatibility of different types of plastics. In addition, a quality label for practical application shall be designed. The focus lies on the analysis and evaluation of the degradation stages of different types of plastics as well as leaching, adsorption and desorption in different wastewater treatment stages, the effects of different plastic species (in different degradation stages) and their additives on aquatic organisms in limnic systems, as well as a risk characterisation of the human toxicological effect of microplastics on consumers of drinking water. Furthermore, the emphasis is put on the quantification and technical reduction potential (e.g. use of membrane technology) of plastic emissions in urban water management, including sewage sludge/fermentation residue treatment, taking into account suitable sampling, treatment and analysis methods. Besides, studies are carried out on the social relevance, i.e. how plastics are handled in German households, what demands the consumer places on plastics, what possibilities exist for the use of substitutes and the resulting effects on commerce, logistics and consumers.

Main areas of work

  • Determination and evaluation of microplastic pathways in limnic systems
  • Investigation and evaluation of technical measures for microplastic elimination
  • Sampling strategies for further processing and analysis of microplastics
  • Sample preparation for analysis of microplastics
  • Identification and quantification of microplastics in all samples
  • Automation of particle recognition, measurement and identification using databases
  • Adsorption/desorption of pollutants on microplastics
  • Degradation and leaching of polymers of different groups
  • Ecotoxicological studies of released substances from microplastics
  • Human toxicological investigations of released substances from microplastics
  • Risk analysis of drinking water
  • Investigation of societal relevance
  • Development of a multi-criteria evaluation system
  • Development of a quality label through an accompanying stakeholder dialogue

WP K Coordination und Communikation

Contact persons
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Christian Schaum, apl. Prof. Dr.-Ing. Steffen Krause, Bundeswehr University Munich, Institute of Hydroscience, Chair of Sanitary Engineering and Waste Management, Werner-Heisenberg-Weg 39, 85577 Neubiberg, e-mail: swa@unibw.de

Short description
In addition to the tasks of general scientific project management, internal communication between the network partners and external communication (increasing public awareness of the project) are also covered. This includes, among other things, uniform guidelines for public relations work by individual network partners and within the overall consortium, organisation of meetings, monitoring of work progress, document management and coordination of the associated partners.

WP 1 Microplastics in the urban water cycle

Contact persons
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Christian Schaum, apl. Prof. Dr.-Ing. Steffen Krause, Bundeswehr University Munich, Institute of Hydroscience, Chair of Sanitary Engineering and Waste Management, Werner-Heisenberg-Weg 39, 85577 Neubiberg, e-mail: swa@unibw.de

Project partner
UF, IWW, BfG, a2i, TUDa, inge, IPF, IOW

Short description
Basic data and definitions for PLASTRAT are specified in consultation with all project partners. This relates to the definition of the upper and lower limit of the particle size for microplastic particles to be examined, the selection of specific plastic species from the categories conventional plastics, recyclates, and biobased or biodegradable polymers. Further preliminary work includes the selection or determination of suitable sites for investigations of WP 2 and 3, taking into account the products considered in WP 5. In addition, the stakeholder analysis is prepared and a more detailed evaluation for developing the quality label.

WP 2 Degradation und material dynamics

Contact person
Prof. Dr. Thomas Ternes, German Federal Institute of Hydrology (BfG), Am Mainzer Tor 1, 56068 Koblenz, e-mail: ternes@bafg.de

Project partner
UniBwM, TUDa

Short description
The environmental behaviour of biobased, synthetic and recycled plastics is analysed in WP 2. Original materials are examined, as well as artificially-aged materials. The release of pollutants (oligomers, additives and their transformation products) is analysed depending on the type of polymer and the degree of degradation. Furthermore, differences in the adsorption/desorption of environmental chemicals are investigated for different types of polymers and the role of wastewater treatment plants regarding the pollutant load of microplastics (enrichment or depletion).

WP 3 Entry points and elimination

Contact persons
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Christian Schaum, apl. Prof. Dr.-Ing. Steffen Krause, Bundeswehr University Munich, Institute of Hydroscience, Chair of Sanitary Engineering and Waste Management, Werner-Heisenberg-Weg 39, 85577 Neubiberg, e-mail: swa@unibw.de

Project partner
UniBwM, a2i, inge, IPF, IOW

Short description
Different entry points of microplastics into limnic systems are assessed, focusing on the analysis and evaluation of the waste water management system including measures for microplastic retention (e.g. membrane technology) that already exist or have been modified or developed in the course of the project. Core areas comprise rain and mixed water discharge, the assessment and evaluation of the entire wastewater treatment plant system, and an analysis of sewage sludge, digestate and compost as possible microplastic sinks. Emphasis is also put on the development and selection of suitable processing and analytical methods.

WP 4 Impact and hazard analysis

Contact persons
Prof. Dr. Jörg Oehlmann, Dr. Ulrike Schulte-Oehlmann, Goethe University Frankfurt, Max-von-Laue-Straße 13, 60438 Frankfurt, e-mail: oehlmann@bio.uni-frankfurt.de

Project partner
IWW

Short description
Comparative analyses are conducted for biobased, synthetic and recycled plastics in different degradation stages as well as for their additives and substances adsorbed/desorbed regarding their effects applying various human and ecotoxicological methods. The results are used to derive threshold values and environmental quality objectives. These should contribute to the hazard analysis and evaluation of the different plastic species with regard to their relevance and environmental compatibility for the limnic environment. The experimental investigations are supplemented by a risk analysis of the drinking water system.

WP 5 Societal relevance

Contact person
Dr. Immanuel Stieß, ISOE - Institute for Social-Ecological Research, Hamburger Allee 4, 60486 Frankfurt, e-mail: stiess@isoe.de

Short description
The social perception, use and disposal of plastic based products are analysed as well as the possibilities, conditions and obstacles for more sustainable consumption and disposal practices. The focus lies on applications in the non-food sector (hygiene articles, clothing and dog excrement bags) as their incorrect or informal disposal can lead to the emission of microplastics into limnic systems that may have negative effects on organisms and aquatic ecosystems. Analysing of the perception of environmental risks and product-specific use and disposal practices is carried out through qualitative exploration and standardised surveys.

WP 6 Evaluation system/quality label

Contact person
Kristina Wencki, IWW Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institute for Water Research gGmbH, Moritzstraße 26, 45476 Mülheim an der Ruhr, e-mail: k.wencki@iww-online.de

Project partner
ISOE, UniBwM, UF, BfG

Short description
Within the project, a multi-criteria evaluation system for plastics regarding to their environmental compatibility with limnic systems is developed. At the same time, the identification of the evaluation criteria is used to initiate the critical discourse about the quality label that demonstrates this environmental compatibility. To this end, a stakeholder dialogue will be conducted. In addition to synthesizing the outcomes of the preceding work packages, this is intended to make a significant contribution to transfer the newly acquired findings into research and business practice.

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