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Plastics in the environment: New calculations on pellet losses

The quantification of pellet losses in Germany has until now been difficult because of a lack of complete data. Pellet losses can occur during the production, processing and recycling of plastics and also during transport. On the other hand, they are also being collected and disposed of by the companies themselves through cleaning systems and cleaning measures. In a study being carried out on behalf of the BKV, pellet losses are now being documented in more detail, also taking into account recent findings. The results will soon be published as a "Special report on pellet losses".


Initial data on the quantity of such pellets that end up in the environment – in other words, both on land and in the waterways – can be found in the "From Land to Sea" model and the "Plastics in the environment" study, both compiled by Conversio GmbH on behalf of the BKV with the support of plastics industry associations from Germany and Austria. In the "From Land to Sea" model, an estimate is made of the quantity that enters the sea from the land. The basis for this was provided by a study made with measurements from the river Danube. The results from Austria were extrapolated using secondary data for Germany. In the "Plastics in the environment" study, a different approach was used. Here, the discharge of plastics from plastics producers, plastics processors and plastics recyclers was examined in more detail and the significance of the transport, including numerous handling points, was examined in more detail. Now, as part of the "Special report on pellet losses", the data from the two models have been validated. The study also includes in particular the results from the "EMISTOP" and "InRePlast" projects, which were carried out as part of the "Plastics in the environment" research project that is funded by Germany’s Federal Research Ministry. Against this background, the new study also includes the subject of wheel cleaning, in which, among other things, pellets are used as abrasives. Further secondary data analyses were also carried out and, in interviews, information was obtained about measures that have been implemented by relevant companies along the value chain, all of which was subsequently analysed. In the "Special report on pellet losses", emissions in the field of transport logistics are therefore differentiated according to the players and specific discharge pathways, while the latest findings on the release of pellets and recovery measures at certain potential sinks in the companies as well as emissions and retention potential of the mixed water and separate sewerage systems have now been included in the data model for the first time.

The "Special report on pellet losses" is currently being compiled by Conversio on behalf of the BKV. The study is supported by the FCIO Austrian Chemical Industry Association, GKV German Association of Plastics Converters, IK German Plastics Packaging Industry Association, Plastics Europe Deutschland and VDMA Plastics and Rubber Machinery Association. The "Special report on pellet losses" should be seen as a supplement to the "From Land to Sea" model and the "Plastics in the environment" study, and should become available in April. It can be ordered via the BKV website free of charge.

More information: How to order the aforementioned studies

Your contact partner for this topic is Stephanie Cieplik (stephanie.cieplik(at)


  • BKV GmbH
  • Photo: Fotolia

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