New concepts for sludge treatment and pollutant removal - to protect the environment and society.
Microplastics and micropollutants pollute our process sludges and prevent efficient reuse and recycling.
Not only our oceans are overflowing with plastic waste, but also our bio-waste is being contaminated by more (micro-)plastic every year.
Agricultural soils could play a key role in reducing the spread of microplastics.Waste management companies in Germany have long been fighting against
(micro)plastics in biowaste for the protection of sludge and the secondary reuse steps.
We are working on responsible solutions to prevent microplastic and other micropollutant distribution in our ecosystems. By reducing the pollutants before they are composited, we prevent the diffusion of pollutants.
Plastic bags and "compostable plastic bags" are the main problem.Many people do not know that even the commercially available organic waste bags made of "compostable plastic" should not go into the organic waste bin. A large proportion of all organic waste bins contain impurities such as plastic bags, "compostable plastic bags", glass, cigarettes and many other things that do not belong in them.
Negative consequences such as the impairment of soil ecologyand the spread to nearby waters can be contained or prevented by targeted - combined - removal, education and communication and avoidance strategies.
In order to be able to make statements about which measures are necessary to prevent microplastic inputs into agricultural soils, the extent of pollution, the effects in the soil and the potential for discharge into water bodies have been investigated to date.
The main potential input routes for microplastics in agricultural soilsare considered to be the
spreading of sewage sludgeand compost and
the use of plastic films in vegetable and fruit growing.
For example, microplastics from cosmetics, detergents and fibre abrasion are discharged into wastewater when washing synthetic textiles. When treated in sewage treatment plants, some of these particles (the plastics that sink in the water column) end up in the sewage sludge. Just under a quarter of sewage sludge in Germany is applied to fields as fertiliser.
So far there are only a few farms in Germany that use compost or sewage sludge, but the numbers are increasing. These are mostly arable or special crop farms without their own production of farm manure, which maintain or increase the compost content of their land in this way.
Up to now, it has been assumed that the