The Plastic Experiment 2022/23 – Final Report



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This report is an English summary of the VA-Report (in Swedish) called Plastexperimentet – slutrapport 2022-2023. The Plastic Experiment was a Citizen Science project and a collaboration between the Keep Sweden Tidy Foundation, Public & Science Sweden via ForskarFredag, as part of European Researchers’ Night, and the University of Gothenburg.

The project received funding from the research council Formas and the European Commission under Horizon Europe in the framework of the Marie Sklodowska-Curie actions, GA 101061464. The scientific lead of the project was Professor Bethanie Carney Almroth, a researcher in Ecotoxicology and Zoophysiology, research assistant Emil Larsson and Magnus Bergquist at the Department of Psychology at the University of Gothenburg.

Some of the results:

  • Over 59,000 plastic items were collected and categorised with a total weight of477 kilograms.
  • Nature areas showed the highest mean value in total number of objects persquare meter, while swimming areas/beaches exhibited the highest weight of plastic per square meter.
  • The most common categories of plastic litter were:
    • 21 % Cigarette butts
    • 16 % Soft plastic packaging
    • 10 % Hard plastic packaging

A follow-up study on young people’s attitudes and motivations towards littering was
conducted. A total of 174 children and adolescents participated, and the results indicate
that willingness to reduce littering of plastic is linked to two factors:

  • Perceived personal obligations to not litter
  • Attitudes towards littering

Furthermore, the research shows that:

  • The desire to reduce littering is more strongly linked to attitudes than knowledge.
  • Both concern and hope are strongly linked to the desire to reduce the littering of plastic.

The Plastic Experiment 2022/23 – Final Report

Authors: Bethanie Carney Almroth, Emil Larsson and Magnus Bergquist at Gothenburg University.
Editors and Graphic Design: The Keep Sweden Tidy Foundation and Lotta W Tomasson, Public & Science Sweden.
Translation: Helen Garrison, Public & Science Sweden.

Published: 9 April 2024

Number of pages: 20

Public & Science Sweden

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