Global experts meet to discuss the plastic pollution crisis

Newswise — The event will take place on Thursday and Friday (April 7 and 8) Global Plastics Policy Centerbased at the University of Portsmouth, where experts will contribute and review its initial research, which analyzes the success or otherwise of a range of plastics policies from across the planet.

Representatives from the World Economic Forum, the OECD, the EU and various governments, including Japan and the Maldives, as well as experts from academia, industry and major NGOs were invited to contribute to an analysis carried out by university researchers – the first since the Global Plastic Policy Center was announced at COP26 in Glasgow in November 2021.

Designed to give governments and industry groups the evidence needed to support more effective plastics policies, the researchers believe this unique resource will ultimately help improve policy-making to reduce the negative impacts of plastics. The Global Plastics Policy Center is the latest significant development of the Plastic Revolutions initiative, which places the University of Portsmouth at the forefront of the plastics debate.

During a two-day online workshop, participants will be invited to consider a range of global plastics policies. These cover recycling regulations, extended producer responsibility, deposit systems, plastic bag bans, bans on certain single-use plastic products, taxes and awareness-raising instruments.

Professor Steve Fletcher, director of the Global Plastic Policy Centre, says, “The team has been busy evaluating over 100 global plastics policies, now the establishment of the Global Plastic Policy Center is in its final stages. As with all academic achievement, peer review is crucial, so I am extremely pleased to unveil our work to such an eminent panel. I can’t wait to hear what they say.

The Center will bring an evidence-based approach to plastic policy development. A framework has been developed to assess individual policies which are scored against criteria and supported by evidence. This Center is the first of its kind and the team believes it will generate real change.

Professor Fletcher says: “The Global Plastics Policy Center will be a one-stop-shop for good advice on plastics policy. Half of all plastic becomes waste within a year of making it and the vast majority is not recycled. Eleven million metric tons of plastic end up in our oceans each year, a shocking figure that is expected to triple to almost 29 million metric tons by 2040 if nothing is done. Action must be taken and an effective plastics policy is essential.

“Until now, there have been very few sources of evidence-based independent advice on plastics policy. The Global Plastics Policy Center will provide a much-needed independent assessment of global plastics policy that will be shared freely with the world.

Once the policies have been assessed, the Global Plastics Policy Center will set up an online platform, with resources, case studies and videos. It will be used to highlight online events and workshops to showcase the excellence found in global plastics policy.

Focused on positive change, the Center will continue to analyze and share plastic policies as they are developed around the world. Each will be categorized in specific terms, for example, banning single-use plastics, incentives such as subsidies/tax reductions, regulations on recycling and waste management. Users will be able to search under classifications such as region or policy type.

The Global Plastics Policy Center online platform will be ready for use in summer 2022.

Bryce K. Locke