Behavioural approaches to the microplastics problem and solutions.

, Grünzner Maja, Pahl Sabine, White Mathew, Thompson Richard.

We humans created the plastics age (Thompson et al., 2009; Yarsley & Couzens, 1945). While European citizens are concerned about plastic pollution and its effects on the environment (Eurobarometer, 2020), microplastics, specifically in freshwater systems, have been highlighted as a major pollutant with an urgent need for solutions (Wagner & Lambert, 2018; Zeng, 2018). Change of consumption behaviour (33%) was selected most frequently, when Europeans were asked about choosing the most effective actions to tackle environmental problems (Eurobarometer, 2020). Citizens are aware of the problem and as they believe that their behaviour matters, the present work, under the Horizon2020 LimnoPlast project, aims to provide a novel approach, in complementing the findings of environmental and technical research. This is achieved by contributing a social science perspective, focusing on identifying behaviours leading to microplastics pollution while simultaneously looking into behavioural aspects of innovations tackling microplastics. Our presentation will provide an overview of existing behavioural approaches regarding this “wicked-problem”. These insights can help to inform future empirical studies on how to tackle microplastics pollution from a social and behavioural science perspective. After all, we humans, are the cause and the solution (Pahl et al., 2017).

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