Cross-Cutting Topic 4

Prof. Dr. Ruth Müller
(Technical University of Munich; SubμTrack)
Dr. Thomas Decker
(Hochschule Weihenstephan-Triesdorf; 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


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 discussion 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.
  • In eleven key messages, the central findings from the cross-cutting topic are summarised in the journal Gaia to show how society can find and pursue ways to deal with plastics in a sustainable manner.
  • As part of the webinar series, several webinars were held related to the cross-cutting topic "Social and political dimensions of plastic in the environment".

The results have also been incorporated into the following publications of the research focus:


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