About this Research Topic
While discussing the benefits of the widespread use of plastic, it is necessary to acknowledge and evaluate the adverse effects on the environment and health throughout the entire plastic life cycle. Many innovative initiatives, including the approach to utilize naturally occurring organisms with enzymatic mechanisms that can break down plastic, have also led to cradle-to-cradle designs and the development of plastic alternatives that can be biodegraded or composted under the influence of microorganisms. Similarly, several other industries have promoted recycling plastic to reduce the use of fossil fuels. However, these practices do not reduce the massive amount of plastic that ultimately reaches the seas. It is still unclear how the related materials behave differently from conventional plastics in the marine environment.
More research is needed to reveal how effective these renewable raw materials are, especially in preventing the pollution crisis caused by plastic in marine environments. We do not know enough about the amounts of these alternative materials in the total pollution load in marine environments. Moreover, satisfactory methodologies for their detection are not yet in place. Similarly, the current level of knowledge is insufficient to reveal the microplastic release performance of materials that are alternatives to traditional plastics, for example, during use (especially in textile products), their behavior in nature after use, and the effects of these alternatives in the marine environment. We would like to address the problem we have identified in this topic with the following research themes in the light of recent developments.
This Research Topic is open to all in-situ/ex-situ research on the existence and impact of alternative materials in marine ecosystems, which have recently been the subject of increasing interest as an alternative to traditional plastic. We fully believe that the contributions of all researchers, especially young researchers, will fill the existing knowledge gap. We are open to full research papers, reviews and mini-reviews.
Research on the following themes are welcome
1. Major sources identification of plastic alternatives in the marine environment,
2. Behaviour of plastic alternatives in the marine environment (key pathways of transport fragmentation and deposition in seawater and sediments)
3. Interaction of plastic alternatives and toxic chemicals or biological constituents/toxins in the marine environment
4. Degradation process of plastic alternatives in the marine environment (in-situ/ex-situ)
5. Forensics methodologies to determine origin of plastic alternatives in marine environment
6. Fiber release of recycled plastics and plastic alternatives in textiles
7. Advanced omics approaches for investigation of microbial biodiversity and their relation to marine plastic degradation,
8. Advanced research studies on biochemical and engineering aspects of synthetic microplastic biodegradation,
9. Life cycle analysis (LCA) of plastic alternatives with a focus on integration of end-of-life risks caused by microplastics formation and other hazards
10 Recommendations to innovators for design and approval of plastic alternatives
11. Potential unintended consequences of using plastic alternatives to meet current consumer demand.
12. Strategies to change consumer behaviour and consumption patterns to promote reductions in single-use plastic alternatives and single-use fossil-based plastics.
13. Ecotoxicity of plastic alternatives on marine organisms
Keywords: Plastic Pollution, Biodegradable, Compostable, Biopolymers, Microplastics, Anthropocene
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.