Global experts meet to discuss plastic pollution crisis

An empty plastic water bottle on the ground

Experts will contribute to and review its initial research, which analyses the success or otherwise of a range of plastic policies from around the planet

  • 06 April 2022
  • 5 min read

Experts from around the world are coming together  this week to discuss the success of policies designed to tackle the global plastic pollution crisis.

The event is taking place on Thursday and Friday (7 and 8 April) at the Global Plastics Policy Centre, based at the University of Portsmouth, where experts will contribute to and review its initial research, which analyses the success or otherwise of a range of plastic policies from around the planet.

Representatives from the World Economic Forum, OECD, the EU, and various governments, including Japan and the Maldives, as well as academic experts, industry and leading NGOs  have been invited to contribute to an analysis performed by University researchers - the first since the Global Plastic Policy Centre was announced at COP26 in Glasgow in November 2021. 

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

As with all academic outputs, peer review is crucial, so I’m incredibly excited to be unveiling our work to such an eminent panel. I’m looking forward to hearing what they say.

Professor Steve Fletcher, Director of the Global Plastic Policy Centre

During a two-day online workshop attendees will be asked to look at a range of global plastic policies. These cover recycling regulations, extended producer responsibility, deposit return schemes, bans on plastic bags, bans of selected single use plastic products, taxes, and awareness instruments. 

Professor Steve Fletcher, Director of the Global Plastic Policy Centre, says: “The team have been busy assessing more than 100 global plastics policies, now the setting up of the Global Plastic Policy Centre is in its final stage.  As with all academic outputs, peer review is crucial, so I’m incredibly excited to be unveiling our work to such an eminent panel.  I’m looking forward to hearing what they say.” 

The Centre will bring an evidence-based approach to plastic policy-making.  A framework has been developed to assess individual policies that are scored against criteria and backed up by evidence. This Centre is the first of its kind and the team believe that it will generate real change. 

Professor Fletcher says: “The Global Plastics Policy Centre will be a one-stop shop of good advice around plastic policy.  Half of all plastic becomes waste within a year of being made and the vast majority isn’t recycled. Eleven million metric tons of plastic ends up in our oceans every year, a shocking figure which is estimated to triple to near 29 million metric tons by 2040, if nothing is done.  Action needs to be taken and effective plastics policy is critical.

“Until now, there has been very limited sources of independent evidence-based advice on plastics policy. The Global Plastics Policy Centre will provide much-needed independent evaluation of global plastic policy that will be shared freely to the world.”

Half of all plastic becomes waste within a year of being made and the vast majority isn’t recycled. Eleven million metric tons of plastic ends up in our oceans every year, a shocking figure which is estimated to triple to near 29 million metric tons by 2040, if nothing is done.

Professor Steve Fletcher, Director of the Global Plastic Policy Centre

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

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

The Global Plastics Policy Centre’s online platform will be ready for use in Summer 2022.