Global experts meet to discuss plastic pollution crisis

Industry leaders and academic experts are set to attend an event at the Global Plastics Policy Centre to analyse current policies and discuss the plastic pollution crisis.

The Global Plastics Policy Centre, based at the University of Portsmouth, is hosting an event that is taking place today and tomorrow, (7 and 8 April 2022), where experts will contribute to and review plastic policies from around the planet.

Representatives from the World Economic Forum, OECD, the EU, as well as numerous government bodies, including Japan and the Maldives, including academic experts, industry and leading NGOs have been invited to contribute to an analysis of the plastic pollution crisis performed by University researchers. This is the first official meeting since the Global Plastic Policy Centre was announced at COP26 in Glasgow in November 2021.

Global Plastic Policy Centre meeting

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

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

Plastic pollution crisis analysis

Professor Steve Fletcher, Director of the Global Plastic Policy Centre, commented: “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 am 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 specific criteria and backed up by evidence. This Centre is the first of its kind and the team believe that it will generate real change.

“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,” Professor Fletcher added. “11 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.”

Assessing policies

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

Focused on positive change to combat the plastic pollution crisis, 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 also 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 by the summer of 2022.

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