The PlastTrack project is about developing a methodological toolbox, ready to track the degradation pathways of plastics in the environment. In addition, a product life cycle analysis (LCA) and related hazard assessment will be created, led by the Mads Clausen Institute at the University of Southern Denmark in Sønderborg. Together with partners from Germany, the project will map the plastic pollution in the sea.
Plastic pollution is an urgent problem
Each year ends approx. 8-15 million tons of plastic in the ocean, which is expected to double by 2025. If we continue to consume as we do today, by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in the world’s oceans. A major report from the WHO concludes that microplastics are everywhere and are being ingested by wildlife. As a result, people can ingest plastic through food.
By creating standardized protocols and predictive models to map the plastic pollution problem in the region, PlastTrack will help map the overall environmental impact of a pressing issue.
Development of toolbox and methods
As part of the project, a toolbox will be developed that can be used for a future LCA framework for new materials and product development. In addition, the project will try to develop a tangible detection method for MNPs (Micro- and Nanoplastics) in seawater with a view to assessing environmental impacts. This is relevant for the maritime, food, coating and healthcare sectors. Such a methodology is of unique importance for policy makers and the public to understand the overall environmental impact of MNPs and environmental product declarations (EPDs).
In the global context, PlastTrack will help understand the problem of plastic pollution in the oceans, which will support the development of mitigation solutions and break the climate change related ‘plastic-climate nexus’ problems.
The project is supported with funds from the European Regional Development Fund Interreg Deutschland-Danmark.
For more information, please visit the project’s website here.