The input and fate of plastics in the environment has been a much-noted and much-discussed topic for several years. On behalf of the Federal Environment Agency, a consortium consisting of Ökopol, CONSULTIC and INTECUS prepared a study to quantify the plastic input into the environment. An estimate was made of the quantitative fate of plastics in the environment from the areas of carelessly discarded or abandoned plastic waste (“littering”) and plastic products that are used environmentally and from which inputs in the form of plastic particles to the environment can arise.
On this basis, relevant sources of plastic inputs were identified and possible courses of action were discussed. The largest inputs result from the transportation sector with tire abrasion as the largest source. In addition, the construction sector and the agricultural and horticultural sectors make relevant contributions to the total quantities. On the other hand, a critical review of the data situation has been carried out and particularly central aspects for an improvement of the data situation have been identified. The calculation results were compared with current relevant studies and classified.