Microplastics from coatings within the EU
: An inventory of sources, formation processes, share, mitigation measures and alternatives. Study commissioned by Radboud University, Nijmegen (NL).

  • F Houwink
  • M Emmaneel
  • M Molenaar
  • R Geerders

Student thesis: Bachelor's Thesis


Microplastics (MPs) pollution in fresh surface water (FSW) is an environmental problem that receives increasing attention. Due to the use of binders that have a backbone of polymers, and occasionally due to the use of intentionally added MPs, paints form a source of MPs pollution. Based on previous studies it is known that buildings, ships and road markings are a major contributor of paint MPs. To mitigate this problem, insight to the processes and pathways of loss of MPs from paints to FSW, as well as the scale of this loss, is needed. In this study, the points of MPs emissions identified in the
building and shipping industry are manufacturing, application, maintenance, wear & tear and end-of-life. For road markings, abrasion by weather and vehicle movement causes most emissions. Of the MPs emissions from these sources that end up in FSW, 89% (50.1 kt/y) comes from the building industry, followed by 7% (3.8 kt/y) from shipping and 4% (2.1 kt/y) from road markings. To reduce these emissions, a range of mitigation measures can be applied, the most quantifiable of which are the use of hard coatings in shipping, addressing residual emissions at shipyards, education of the public, regulations for sanding machines, R&D, and a legal paintwork period.
Date of Award17 Mar 2023
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorJikke van Wijnen (Supervisor), Yichen Sun (Co-assessor) & Angelique Lansu (Examiner)


  • shipping
  • DIY
  • building sector
  • road markings
  • alternatives
  • mitigation
  • paint
  • coatings
  • microplastics

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