Life cycle assessment of different strawberry production methods in Germany with a particular focus on plastic emissions

This paper presents the environmental impacts of different plasticulture methods, including possible impacts caused by the accidental emission of plastics in strawberry cultivation. The main goal of this study is to help farmers determine the most environmentally friendly cultivation technique and to test the inclusion of plastic pollution in life cycle assessment (LCA). This study quantifies the abrasion or erosion of these plastics during cultivation and their release into the environment, relates such emissions to different cultivation methods, and puts them into the broader context of other environmental impacts. The study presents the effects of eight plasticulture methods and three combinations thereof on the yield, water and nutrient savings, and plastic masses that are to be employed and are assumed to be partly released into the environment. To make biodegradable agroplastics competitive, their effects on cultivation parameters such as water and nutrient demand and yield, as well as their degradability under real-life conditions on the field, need to be enhanced. The results of this study suggest the need to regulate certain parameters of plastics that are in direct contact with soil, such as rip resistance and permitted polymer types and additives. Besides, the legal framework should incentivize the complete recovery and proper end-of-life treatment of agroplastics. Also, possible legal restrictions that encourage the use of plasticulture methods that can help reduce the environmental impacts as compared to open-field cultivation are important.

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Microplastics in the environment: A critical overview on its fate, toxicity, implications, management, and bioremediation strategies

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