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.
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 Special Issue on “Plastic Contamination: Challenges and Solutions” focus on addressing all aspects of plastics.