News - Plastics Policy

While there are ways in which individuals can reduce their use of plastic in their daily activity, science and technology have pushed the boundaries of what is possible to address plastics pollution. covered 10 scientific solutions, including the Nicholas Institute's Plastic Pollution Prevention and Collection Technology Inventory.

Rachel Karasik, a senior policy associate at the Nicholas Institute, told Grist that a successful case by the New York Attorney General's Office could spur PepsiCo to invest in reuse systems throughout the Buffalo area. In the absence of a statewide extended producer responsibility law for plastic packaging, Karasik also said litigation could yield financing for plastic cleanup and collection activities.

Podcast: Plastic Policies External link

Rachel Karasik, senior policy associate at the Nicholas Institute, and Zoie Diana (PhD '23), now a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Toronto, joined WUGA's Aquathread podcast to talk about their work on plastics policy, including development of the Plastics Policy Inventory.

The Nicholas Institute has updated its Plastics Policy Inventory to include nearly 900 public policies introduced around the world since 2000 to reduce plastic use and waste. A new library also connects individual policies to studies of their effectiveness, while a pair of publications explore overarching trends and gender considerations in the policy landscape.

The Plastics Policy Inventory developed by Duke University researchers has documented "an increasing trend in the number of policies passed" around the world to address plastic consumption and waste, said Nicholas Institute expert Rachel Karasik. But The Christian Science Monitor reports that even in places seemingly most ripe for change, there have been setbacks, loopholes, and unintended consequences.

This year's World Environment Day focused on solutions to plastic pollution. Humanity produces more than 430 million tons of plastic each year, two-thirds of which end up in landfills. On CGTN's "World Insight with Tian Wei," Nicholas Institute expert Jackson Ewing and other panelists provided insights on how the global community can reduce plastic waste.

Nicholas Institute expert Rachel Karasik talked with Let Me Breathe about her work on global plastics policy; the Plastic Pollution Working Group as a central hub for Duke students, staff, and faculty; how stakeholders are tackling plastics; quick tips on how to reduce the use of plastic in daily life; and more.

An interdisciplinary group of 18 Duke students brought considerable and diverse skills to bolster the Nicholas Institute’s research, engagement and educational endeavors during the 2022–2023 academic year.

Governments and non-governmental stakeholders will meet in Paris starting on Friday for the second of five negotiating sessions on a treaty addressing the global plastic pollution crisis. Comments from Duke expert Rachel Karasik are available for use in media coverage.

Zoie Diana, a Duke Ph.D. student, spoke about her research into the harmful effects of plastics and the connections to public policy on the Policy 360 podcast, produced by Duke's Sanford School of Public Policy.