QLE.20.025 – NanoReCircle – Framework for assessing the environmental and food safety risks of nanoplastics – from wastewater to our food and living environment

Route: Quality of the living environment

Cluster question: 006 How can we protect and preserve the quality of the substrate for humans and the environment while leaving room for social and economic development?

Currently, substantial gaps remain in the risk assessment of submicrometric plastic particles and it is not yet possible to quantify the impact of increased plastic recycling on environmental and food safety. At the same time, the mismanagement of plastic waste rises serious environmental issues and accumulation in our food chain and living environment. In an effort to create a more circular and sustainable society, the Dutch plastic strategy targets a 30% reduction in consumption and 70% single use plastics recycling by 2025. However, increased plastic recycling might be associated with increased volumes of washing water containing sub-micron plastic particles that can be introduced in the water cycle. Protocols standardization for sampling, pre-treatment and analysis of nanoplastics in environmental and food samples with various methods is still lacking. Additionally, the overall understanding of their toxicological effects and associated risks for the consumer is still limited. For the analysis of nanoplastics , including biobased and biodegradable plastics, as non-intentionally added substances in the water cycle and in food products, analytical and risk assessment strategies are needed, as well as mitigation strategies. NanoReCircle will develop a framework necessary for assessing the environmental and food safety risks of nanoplastics from wastewater to our food and living environment. It will generate an analytical platform to monitor the presence of nanoplastics in complex samples and will investigate the possible consequences and risks of increased plastic recycling on human and environmental exposure . Dedicated nanoplastic reference materials fabricated within the project will facilitate the development, validation and implementation of innovative analytical, toxicological and risk modeling methods. NanoReCircle will provide guidelines to minimize risks of nanoplastics release in future plastics recycling policies and thereby support a more suitable and circular implementation of such strategies.


Circularity, Food Technology, Nanoplastics, Plastic recycling, Water Technology

Other organisations

Hogeschool NHL Stenden, Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED-UvA), Leiden University (LEI), Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen (RU), Van 't Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences (HIMS - UvA), Wageningen Food and Biobased Research, Wageningen Food Safety Research, Wageningen Universities and Research (WUR)


Organisation Universiteit van Amsterdam (UvA)
Name prof. Dr. A.P. (Annemarie) van Wezel
E-mail a.p.vanwezel@uva.nl
Website https://www.uva.nl/en