This brochure is the short version of the publication Key Messages of the BMBF Research Focus "Plastics in the Environment". It summarizes the most important key messages from all 20 joint research projects and the seven cross-cutting topics of the research focus.

An estimated 11 billion cigarette filters are released into the environment in Germany every year. They are mostly made of cellulose acetate, a type of plastic. In addition, cigarette filters also contain numerous other toxins.

The publication summarizes the key messages from all 20 joint research projects and the seven cross-cutting topics of the research focus. Structured by main topics, the central results are presented in order to derive recommendations for various addressees.

The volume of plastics entering the environment is growing worldwide. Since existing regulations are not sufficient to curb the problem, the ever-increasing plastic production and use must be reduced. A systemic approach is needed that holds all actors responsible who produce, use, recycle, dispose and trade in plastic products and packaging.

Plastic pollution has become a major global risk. The European Union (EU) obligates all member states to implement measures according to the waste management hierarchy, with the highest priority given to waste prevention and reuse.Currently, several policies tackle the plastic crisis, while effective measures for prevention are hardly introduced.

Plastic waste is perceived as one of the major environmental problems of our times. Nevertheless, rates of consumption of plastic packaging are constantly increasing. Based on focus group discussions with German consumers this study identified personal and structural barriers that hinder a reduced plastic packaging consumption.

The high volume of plastic packaging currently consumed in Germany poses a complex socio-ecological risk. As part of the BMBF-funded ENSURE research consortium, environmental psychologists at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) in Potsdam have studied various policy options to promote a reduction in individual consumption of plastic food packaging.

This compendium aims to sharpen relevant terms and thereby aims to contribute to the better understanding in the heterogenous community on „plastics in the environment“.

For quality assurance of ecotoxicological studies with microplastics, minimum reporting requirements should be followed. This poster is a guideline for the use of these criteria.

Whether or not microplastics have harmful effects on plants and animals has not yet been conclusively established. The different properties of microplastics determine whether and how the microplastics are absorbed by living organisms and whether they are harmful to them.

The article reflects on the 59th Tutzing Symposion entitled "Polymers for a better life and circular economy" that took place as an online event in October 2021.

The effects of microplastics on the environment and organisms have not yet been sufficiently studied. However, it has been proven that microplastics can adsorb (harmful) organic substances due to their surface and material properties. These substances can accumulate in the fatty tissue of organisms and cause damage to the organism.

Abstract: Microplastic river emissions are known to be one of the major sources for marine microplastic pollution. Especially urbanized estuaries localized at the land-sea interface and subjected to microplastic emissions from various sources exhibit a high microplastic discharge potential to adjacent coasts.

This status report was prepared within the framework of the cross-cutting topic 1 "Analytics and reference materials" of the research focus. It summarizes the contents of the project discussions and coordination within the cross-cutting issue. The organization of this ongoing process of development or elaboration has been supported by several events.

This study tests the potential of aerial drones or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles together with a Geographic Information System approach for semi-automatic classification of meso- (1–25 mm) and macrolitter (>25 mm) at four beaches of the southern Baltic Sea.

This comparative test from cross-cutting topic 1 "Analytics and reference materials" classifies different analytical methods for the identification and quantification of microplastics regarding their informative value and to work out the strengths and limitations of the respective methods. The comparative test was intended to provide the pre-requisites for comparing the analytical results of the individual projects within a given framework.

The discussion about plastic waste is anything but new for German municipalities. In fact, as early as the 1980s, numerous German municipalities were experimenting with plastic waste prevention regulations and waste prevention in general. A further impetus for plastic waste prevention was provided in the early 1990s with the discussions on the introduction of a nationwide packaging ordinance.

Numerous one- to two-person households, an increase in mail-order business as well as the popular "to-go" culture are causing a steady rise in the consumption of plastic packaging in Germany. While approximately 1.8 million tons of plastic were produced per year in 2000, this figure had already risen to 3.1 million tons by 2016.

The paper shows that well meant is not always well done. It deals with the question of blank value entries and how "one" should handle them. It shows that disposable gloves can be a source of false positive PE findings, as they can be coated with sterates, for example, which can be confused with PE by all analytical methods (pyr-GC/MS and spectroscopy).

There is a growing interest in monitoring microplastics in the environment, corresponding to increased public concerns regarding their potential adverse effects on ecosystems. Monitoring microplastics in the environment is difficult due to the complex matrices that can prevent reliable analysis if samples are not properly prepared first.

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