ENSURE

ENSURE

Development of New Plastics for a Clean Environment by Determining of Relevant Entry Points
Description

The goal of this project is to develop plastics with environmentally optimised decomposition behaviour, which can degrade faster and in a more eco-friendly manner while maintaining the same stability. Furthermore, innovative methods are developed for (i) the quantification and characterisation of recent sources and sinks in the terrestrial sector, ii) the biological degradation of relevant plastics, and iii) the analysis of social perceptions and behaviour patterns.

Main areas of work

  • Characterisation of relevant sources and sinks as well as area coverage in the terrestrial /semi-terrestrial range ("Traceability")
  • Development of environmentally-friendly plastics
  • Investigation of the physical, chemical and biological stability of environmentally relevant plastics and testing of novel plastics through demonstration and practical tests ("Optimisability")
  • Investigation of the effect of plastics on soil meso- and microfauna and on the biodegradability of plastics in substrates ("Degradability and environmental compatibility")
  • Using transdisciplinary research practices as a basis for developing actor-related strategies to promote sustainable use of plastic products ("Perception and behaviour")

WP 1 Traceability

Contact person

Dr. Mathias Bochow, Helmholtz Centre Potsdam GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Telegrafenberg, 14473 Potsdam, e-mail: matthias.bochow@gfz-potsdam.de

Dr. Claus Gerhard Bannick, Federal Environmental Agency, Corrensplatz 1, 14195 Berlin, e-mail: clausgerhard.bannick@uba.de

Project partner

University of Stuttgart IKT, UBA

Short description

In the "Traceability" module, undesirable plastic inputs in prioritised sectors (soils, wastewater treatment plants, composting plants and biogas plants) are detected and identified. In a first step, sampling strategies are developed so that in a second step representative investigations can be carried out to determine the current states of plastics in fermentation, compost and wastewater treatment plants. In addition, plastics in the environment are surveyed nationwide. Airborne exploration methods (remote sensing) will be used for mapping. The aim is to develop a multi-sensor system for quantifying and qualifying the potential environmental impact of plastics.

WP 2 Optimisability

Contact person

Prof. Dr. habil. Marc Kreutzbruck, University of Stuttgart, Institute of Plastics Technology, Pfaffenwaldring 32, 70569 Stuttgart, e-mail: marc.kreutzbruck@ikt.uni-stuttgart.de

Project partner

BAM

Short description

Within the scope of the module "Optimisability" relevant plastics (PE, PET and PBAT) should be designed sustainably with regard to their degradation behaviour by using suitable additives/modifiers, i.e. they should exhibit an optimised degradation behaviour. For this purpose, the plastics are to be compounded with specifically switchable additives. In order to cover the entire value-chain, these materials should be able to be processed into semifinished products using standard plastics fabrication technologies. In practice, semi-finished plastic products are sealed or two parts are joined together. Therefore, the weldability of the newly developed materials based on ultrasonic joining processes shall be investigated and ensured.

WP 3 Degradability and environmental compatibility

Contact person

Dr. Ulrike Braun, Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing, Unter den Eichen 87, 12205 Berlin, e-mail: ulrike.braun@bam.de

Prof. Dr. Dirk Wagner, Helmholtz Centre Potsdam - GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Telegrafenberg, 14473 Potsdam, e-mail: dirk.wagner@gfz-potsdam.de

Project partner

University of Stuttgart IKT, UBA, Osnabrück University IUSF, TUB

Short description

The "Degradability and environmental compatibility" module includes work on the mechanical understanding of plastic and polymer degradation. Under various environmental conditions, relevant degradation processes are assessed. The aim is to evaluate the degradation behaviour of the materials developed.

WP 4 Perception and behaviour

Contact persons
Prof. Dr. Ortwin Renn and Dr. Katharina Beyerl, Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS), Berliner Straße 130, 14467 Potsdam, e-mail: ortwin.renn@iass-potsdam.de; katharina.beyerl@iass-potsdam.de

Project partner
University of Stuttgart IKT, UBA, Osnabrück University IUSF, TUB, GFZ, BAM

Short description
The module "Perception and behaviour" supports the research of human motivations for the handling of plastic as well as the development of recommendations for behavioural offers and communication content to reduce plastics in the environment. Triangulation of related research methods is used for this purpose. By means of expert interviews, focus groups, qualitative in-depth interviews and an online survey with selected target groups, the current patterns of perception and behaviour in dealing with plastics are collected and analysed.

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