IEEE OES Plastics in the Ocean Initiative


Resources
Background
Reports
Networking
Sources
Mitigation
Meetings
Overview
Brest 2022
2022 SeaTechWeek
Virtual Working Session 2021
Marine Litter Sessions at OBPS Workshop
Brest 2019
Oceans 2019
Brest 2018



The Plastic Use and Life Cycles: A Systems Approach

Hans-Peter Plag

Old Dominion University

Plastic is everywhere. Plastic is a very versatile material that has penetrated all areas of the humansphere and has leaked into all environmental systems. Plastic poses a challenge because the use times of products that contain plastic are in almost all cases orders of magnitude smaller than the lifetime of the plastic parts. Over time, larger plastic parts break down into smaller parts to micro and nano-levels and penetrate the complete planetary environment. Taking a systems approach, the flows from production to uses and post-use waste can be quantified and the potential leakages into the environment can be estimated. Modeling the system in a stock and flow model requires careful consideration of societal and spatial scales. A major challenge results from a rather incomplete database that would allow to quantify the stocks and flows in the plastic use and life cycles.

Type of contribution: Presentation.

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