Sebastian Rhein

Sebastian Rhein
Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg | MLU · Department of Economics, Chair of Statistics



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Citations since 2016
11 Research Items
94 Citations
Current research interests: consumer awareness about plastic; single-use plastic and corporate responsibility; environmental policy and circular economy;


Publications (11)
This cumulative dissertation consists in its core of three publications (see comments) that analyze the strategies and mindsets of companies, consumers and the political level with regard to a sustainable use of plastic packaging. The following key findings can be derived from the papers: First, throughout all papers, a strong ‘recycling thinking’...
Full-text available
Research regarding consumers’ perception of and willingness-to-pay for alternatives to conventional plastic packaging reveals an ambiguous picture. On one hand, consumers are said to be neither willing to change their consumption behavior nor to pay for alternatives. On the other hand, there is evidence that consumers have an increasing environment...
Understanding social movement structures is important for political decision-makers to enable them to recognise the various motivating factors behind these movements. The Fridays for Future movement characterises a political group that has a majority of young people, frequently using social media to organise actions. By conducting a social network...
Full-text available
High levels of environmental pollution and low recycling rates have triggered a debate on deposit return systems for single-use beverage containers (BCs) within the European Union. In 2003, Germany statutorily implemented a deposit for single-use BCs, which operates alongside a historically grown deposit system for multi-use bottles. The long-stand...
Das Verhältnis zwischen Bürger*innen und der Polizei steht immer wieder im Fokus der öffentlichen Diskussion und erscheint ambivalent: Auf der einen Seite weisen bevölkerungsrepräsentative Befragungsstudien auf ein hohes Maß an Vertrauen in die Polizei hin – auf der anderen Seite mehren sich negativ konnotierte Schlagzeilen, die eine allgemein fehl...
An increasing number of companies are voluntarily committing to help complete the transition from a linear to a circular economy, thereby curbing the global environmental pollution caused by plastics. The various endeavours are codified both by signing global commitments, like the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, and by incorporating individ...
Plastic pollution is considered to be among the greatest challenges the world faces. The consumption and often uncontrolled disposal of single-use plastic packaging is regarded as one of the main environmental hazards. Whereas the role of companies and politics in addressing this problem has been discussed intensively, little focus has been placed...
Induktive qualitative Forschungsmethoden sind aufgrund ihres explorativen Charakters dazu geeignet, neue Aspekte im Hinblick auf aktuelle, gesellschaftlich relevante Themen zu identifizieren, die den Forschenden bei ausschließlicher Anwendung quantitativer Methoden mit vorformulierten Antwortkategorien im Verborgenen geblieben wären. Im Kontext der...
The production of plastic and other synthetics has increased in the last few decades due to its inexpensive production costs and its versatile applications. The discussion about the increasing amount of plastics in everyday life and its potential negative consequences has intensified recently. The treatment of plastics at the end oflife (EoL) is th...
Sebastian Rhein untersucht den bilateralen Dialog zwischen Unternehmen und internationalen zivilgesellschaftlichen Organisationen (ZGOs). Ausgehend davon, dass Stakeholder-Dialoge ein wichtiges Instrument für die Strategieentwicklung und Nachhaltigkeit von Unternehmen sind, untersucht er empirisch die institutionellen Bedingungen dieser Dialoge aus...


Question (1)
Hello everyone,
For my research, I am interested in how the handling of beverage bottles is regulated in your country.
  • Do you have deposit or collection systems in your country (voluntary initiatives or legal regulations)?
  • Is the market dominated by single-use bottles or are there also refillable ones?
  • What packaging materials are available?
  • Another important question is whether everyone in your country has access to clean drinking water or whether beverage bottles are unavoidable?
I am very curious about your experiences!
In my country, Germany, both multi- and single-use beverage packaging made of different materials are in use. We have deposit systems for both kinds of bottles. The amount of the deposit differentiates between single- and multi-use bottles. There are also different types of materials. PET is the most commonly used. Most beverages are sold in single-use packaging and the market share of beverages sold in multi-use bottles is declining from year to year. However, the deposit generally leads to high return and recycling rates for both types of packaging.
Best regards!


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Project (1)
The project aims to analyze consumers’ awareness of plastic packaging and examines how consumers can be involved in the transformation process from a linear to a circular economy. Applying an innovative and holistic methodological approach, the project intends to answer the questions of whether consumers take personal responsibility for their plastic consumption and how consumers perceive corresponding actions taken by political and economic actors. The project address a second aspect: The companies' perspective. It will be analyzed how companies define the circular economy for plastic packaging and how consumers should be integrated into circular economy processes. The project assumes that a comparison between the attitudes of consumers and the attitudes of companies will help to identify conflicts of interest and thus dismantle existing barriers to achieving a circular economy for plastic packaging.