Plastic is everywhere. It is used in food packaging and in cars and bicycles, clothing and furniture. It has many practical advantages: it is lightweight and can be easily moulded and dyed. However, our reliance on plastic has numerous negative impacts, particularly on the environment. Above all, the production and careless disposal of plastics cause pollution on a vast scale. It is estimated that between five and 13 million tonnes of plastic waste end up in the sea each year, with very serious impacts on marine fauna.
The Oeko-Institut conducts extensive research on the effects of plastics use. It looks at options for plastics recycling and a shift towards policy frameworks that promote conscious and sustainable management of these materials. Strategies to improve the plastics recycling system and verify recycled content have a key role to play here. In addition, the researchers investigate options for improving material recovery and reuse throughout the product life cycle and for increasing mechanical recycling rates; they also assess the sustainability of chemical recycling.