SAPEA’s microplastic report, along with issues related to recycling of plastics and future technologies, were discussed on 4 October 2019 in Ljubljana. The one-day event was organised by SAPEA, the Slovenian Academy of Engineering and the University of Ljubljana.
The SAPEA report was introduced by two members of the former SAPEA working group – Dr. Gabriela Kalčikova and Prof. Dr. Wouter Poortinga. Dr. Gabriela Kalčikova brought the overview of microplastics in nature while Prof. Dr. Wouter Poortinga focused on plastics in society and policies. That introduction was followed by a panel discussion moderated by Prof. Dr. Karin Stana Kleinschek from Slovenia Engineering Academy. Topics included safety and risk assessment of micro- and nanoplastics, advantages and disadvantages of bio polymers, the industrial view of environment issues and usability of the new technologies, cellulose and other biopolymers in paper industry, and challenges of plastic recycling.
The final part of the meeting introduced alternatives to plastics, including engineering biomass and biopolymers for advanced applications, nature-derived alternatives to plastics and the future of microplastics.