Internship | What are the environmental effects of plastic litter?



Education type

university (wo)


Internship and graduation project

Hours a week

Fulltime – 40


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Plastic litter is a large environmental problem but quantification of the problem lags behind. How bad is the littering of plastic and formation of microplastic for the environment?

What will be your role?

The government and the European commission are pressing to reduce the environmental impact of human activities and change our current linear economy to a system with little or no waste, where all materials are preserved and reused. In this context, plastic litter is one of the main environmental challenges as identified by the UNEP. In order to tackle this problem, quantification of the problem is essential. For environmental impact quantification, tools like life cycle assessment are often used. However, in these tools the plastic litter problem is not represented. At TNO, we want to contribute to solving this problem by trying to develop insight in the severity of the plastic litter problem and microplastic formation. Through this, we can get a closer to our goal of creating a circular economy. As an intern, you will be part of finding a solution by focusing on one of the following aspects: Plastic mass flow analysis, microplastic formation and/or environmental fate modeling.

How do you want to contribute to tomorrow's world? How big can your impact be? Come and work at TNO and envision it.

What we expect from you

We are looking for a master student that is available for at least 6 months and preferably has a background in either industrial ecology, waste management or environmental sciences. Prior knowledge on Mass flow analysis, LCA, modelling and plastics is preferred but not essential. Enthusiasm and curiosity for the topic are the most important recommendations. For modelling purposes, we are looking for a student with some prior experience in R/ Python. A good knowledge of the English language is essential.

What you’ll get in return

You want to work on the precursor of your career; a work placement gives you an opportunity to take a good look at your prospective future employer. TNO goes a step further. It’s not just looking that interests us; you and your knowledge are essential to our innovation. That’s why we attach a great deal of value to your personal and professional development. You will, of course, be properly supervised during your work placement and be given the scope for you to get the best out of yourself. Naturally, we provide suitable work placement compensation.

TNO as an employer

At TNO, we innovate for a healthier, safer and more sustainable life. And for a strong economy. Since 1932, we have been making knowledge and technology available for the common good. We find each other in wonder and ingenuity. We are driven to push boundaries. There is all the space and support for your talent and ambition. You work with people who will challenge you: who inspire you and want to learn from you. Our state-of-the-art facilities are there to realize your vision. What you do at TNO matters: impact makes the difference. Because with every innovation you contribute to tomorrow’s world. Read more about TNO as an employer.

At TNO we encourage an inclusive work environment, where you can be yourself. Whatever your story and whatever unique qualities you bring to the table. It is by combining our unique strengths and perspectives that we are able to develop innovations that make a real difference in society. Want to know more? Read what steps we are taking in the area of diversity and inclusion.

The selection process

After the first CV selection, the application process will be conducted by the concerning department. TNO will provide a suitable internship agreement. If you have any questions about this vacancy, you can contact the contact person mentioned below.

Has this job opening sparked your interest?

Then we’d like to hear from you! Please contact us for more information about the job or the selection process. To apply, please upload your CV and covering letter using the ‘apply now’ button.

Contact: Anna Schwarz
Phone number: +31(0)611455781

Note that applications via email and third party applications are not taken into consideration.


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Anna Schwarz

  • Junior Scientist Innovator
  • Climate
  • Air & Sustainability

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