Plastics, gender and the environment

Findings of a literature study
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Findings of a literature study on the lifecycle of plastics and its impacts on women and men, from production to litter.

▶ For more information, also explore our Information Hub on Plastic, which compiles data and facts for everyone combating the plastic crisis. 

Product details
Date of Publication
November 2017
WECF – Women Engage for a Common Future
Number of Pages
All rights reserved
Language of publication
Table of contents
  • Executive summary
  • Main findings from the literature study 
  • The report
  • Table of Contents
  • Tables, figures and boxes
  • Abbreviations
  • Introduction – The nexus of gender and plastic

1. Understanding the overall dimensions of gender in plastic production and consumption

2. Workforce and exposure in the plastic industry

  • 2.1 Socially determined factors of the workforce
  • 2.2 Physiological differences between women and men often incompatible labour protection policies
  • 2.3 Worker's exposure to hazardous chemicals

3. Overview of hazardous chemicals in plastics and their impact on women's and men's health

  • 3.1 Plastics, EDCs and observed healtheffects

4. Exposure to hazardous chemicals from some everyday products
5. Gender and microplastics management

  • 5.1 Background
  • 5.2 Products that contain microplastics and the role of men and women in production consumption
  • 5.3 Microplastics in the environment and its sources
  • 5.4 Can we manage microplastics in the environment – and what is the role for men/women as agent of change?

6. Marine environment: Exposure to (micro-) plastics and health aspects for aquatic organisms

  • 6.1 Occurrence and pathways of (micro-) plastics in the marine environment
  • 6.2 Uptake of plastic particles and transfer between trophic levels
  • 6.3 Plastic uptake and accumulation in animals 
  • 6.4 Seafood and gender aspects
  • 6.5 Fishing related marine litter and gender

7. Plastic waste management

  • 7.1 Municipal solid waste generation 
  • 7.2 Plastic Recovery rates
  • 7.3 Collecting and Recycling practices
  • 7.4 Landfills and dumping; controlled and uncontrolled
  • 7.5 Incineration: controlled and uncontrolled

8. Green consumerism, environmental awareness and behaviour

  • 8.1 Social  determinants and plastic exposure
  • 8.2 Gender roles in waste generation and management
  • 8.3 Factors  influencing pro-environmental behavior and attitudes 

9. Wastewater

  • 9.1 Microplastics in wastewater 
  • 9.2 Personal Hygiene and wastewater: Gender aspects

10. Bio-plastics and classification of plastic waste 

  • 10.1 Bio degradable and bio-based plastics
  • 10.2 Classification of plastic waste

11. Main findings from the Literature review
12. Recommendations
13. Women and men as agents of change

  • Annex 1
  • Bibliography