Cover Texte 64/2015 Sources of microplastics relevant to marine protection in Germany
Chemicals, Waste | Resources, Water

Sources of microplastics relevant to marine protection in Germany

The Federal Environment Agency was commissioned a study to produce a first approximation of the amounts of microplastics used in cosmetic products on the market in Germany and the European Union, conduct research into further areas of application for microplastics and determine their amounts of use, and identify other sources of microplastics and estimate their quantity. The nova-Institute gathered the relevant data by comprehensively analysing available literature and conducting telephone interviews. A distinction was drawn between primary and secondary microplastics. Primary microplastics are directly manufactured as microscopic particles that are used in cosmetics and other applications. Secondary microplastics are fragments of macroscopic plastic materials which arise, for instance, through the fragmentation of plastic bottles or abrasion of tyres and textiles. Initial estimates indicate that every year approximately 500 tonnes of primary microplastics composed of polyethylene are used in cosmetic products in Germany. The authors put the quantities used in detergents, disinfectants and blasting agents in Germany at less than 100 tonnes per year each, whereas for microparticles in synthetic waxes they estimate around 100,000 tonnes per year. More accurate figures regarding amounts of use in the various other applications are not available at present, meaning that the total amount of primary microplastics used in Germany cannot be determined.

Texte | 64/2015
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Roland Essel, Linda Engel, Michael Carus, Dr. Ralph Heinrich Ahrens
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Project No. (FKZ)
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 microplastic particle  water polluting substance  seawater pollution