for sustainable development


Solution strategies for reducing plastics in rivers and lakes

Large quantities of microplastics are found not only in oceans, but also rivers and lakes are affected. However, little is known about the entry paths and occurring quantities with respect to inland waters. Since September 2017, the PLASTRAT research project has been investigating entry paths, elimination strategies and the effects of plastics on humans and the environment via rivers and lakes. Holistic solutions are to be developed to limit the dispersion of plastic residues in inland waters.


When buying products, do consumers pay attention to the type of packaging or the material of the article of daily use itself? Are they sorting the garbage? Are they aware of the discourse on microplastics and are they thinking about how to reduce the proportion of plastic packaging that comes with their purchases? ISOE’s studies are focusing on the question of how consumers perceive and evaluate the risks of plastics and what influence this has on their everyday behaviour. Using selected product groups ranging from hygiene articles and clothing to dog excrement bags as examples concrete usage and disposal practices are empirically investigated as well as the question of how consumers evaluate products made of compostable or recycled plastic.

Limiting plastic entries with the help of quality labels

Together with partners from science and practice, ISOE is developing a system that evaluates plastics with regard to their ecotoxicological effects on inland waters and at the same time takes into account the technical and social framework conditions. At this juncture, the results of the consumer survey are taken into account. The aim is to develop a quality label that provides information on the environmental compatibility of certain product groups or plastics. To this end, shortcomings of conventional eco-labels are analysed and criteria are examined to determine whether they might be suitable for a quality label. Stakeholders from the entire value chain, including manufacturers of plastics, clothing manufacturers, intermediaries and retailers, as well as interest groups, politicians and administrators, are involved through stakeholder dialogues.

The joint project PLASTRAT is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) in the research priority “Plastics in the Environment – Sources, Reduction, Approaches to Solutions”. This research priority is part of the Green Economy flagship initiative of the BMBF’s “Research for Sustainable Development” (FONA) framework programme. More about the project



Nicola Schuldt-Baumgart

Nicola Schuldt-Baumgart
Head of Knowledge Communication & Public Relations
Tel. +49 69 707 6919-30

Melanie Neugart
Knowledge Communication Consultant,
Media Contact
Tel. 069 707 6919-51

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