Project Details

Extended description

The accelerating production and consumption of plastics has a downside as an accumulating amount of plastics ends up in our environment. Microplastics, plastic particles smaller than 5 mm, are especially a cause of concern. Microplastics are already found all over the globe, while their exact effect on our ecosystems and our health is still largely unknown. Acquiring knowledge on the size and spread of plastic pollution is important, but in order to tackle this issue knowledge on effective measures to reduce the environmental impact of microplastics is essential. A first crucial step is to make reliable estimations on microplastics emissions to the environment in order to predict exposure and risk. This forms the base to model and assess the environmental efficiency of measures aimed to reduce microplastics emissions.

In order to quantify the microplastics emissions and link them directly to particular human activities we propose a supply chain approach. A supply chains can be defined as a connected system of organizations, activities, information and resources designed to source, produce and move goods from its origin to a final destination—typically from a supplier to an end customer. Within an environmental context, we consider all steps involved in the life cycle of a product to be part of the supply chain, i.e. production, use and End-of-Life.

To test our approach, two case studies will be analysed. Their supply chain will be mapped and the microplastics emissions from each chain link will be quantified. Next, in a specific river basin, these different supply chain links and associated microplastics emissions will be modelled to get insight in the specific losses to the river. Later, scenarios will be developed in which measures in the form of adaptations of the supply chain and/or product design are tested. During the entire project, close collaboration will be maintained with a number of key stakeholders.
Effective start/end date1/04/2131/03/26


  • Microplastics
  • Tire Wear Particles
  • Supply Chain Management
  • Stakeholder
  • Modelling


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