...for public policy documents targeting plastic pollution:
Plastics Policy Inventory
(or, download all inventory documents)
...for literature examining these policies:
With an estimated 4.8 to 12.7 million metric tons of mismanaged plastic waste entering the ocean annually1, plastic pollution is a global problem that has gained increasing attention in recent years. Governments at all levels are responding to plastic pollution problems with diverse approaches that incorporate a range of public policy instruments targeting multiple stages of the plastics life-cycle. At the fourth meeting of the United Nations Environment Assembly in 2019 (PDF), member states called for more rigorous monitoring of the status of the global plastic pollution problem and efforts to address it, including existing activities and actions by governments. And, in 2022, the UN Environment Assembly initiated a process to develop a global treaty on plastic pollution, set to be agreed upon at the end of 2024.
The Plastics Policy Inventory was created in 2020 to support current and future monitoring of government responses to the plastic crisis. It has been updated biannually and in 2023, a library of plastics policy effectiveness studies published from 2000 to 2022 was created, to provide access to the state of the science on how policies are working to address the plastics crisis.
About the Plastics Policy Inventory
The Plastics Policy Inventory is an updateable and searchable database consisting of public policy documents targeting plastic pollution in several languages, beginning January 1, 2000, and currently updated to January 2023. This database was built using a robust methodological process developed with the support of research librarians and experts on public policy databases. The inventory currently includes close to 900 downloadable policies, in over 35 languages, with the intent to address plastic pollution by subnational, national, and international level governments, and is growing based on stakeholder input and continued research. The inventory is currently comprehensive at the international level, includes a representative but not exhaustive list of policies at the national level, and an illustrative list of policies at the subnational level.
Each policy document can be downloaded and includes metadata on the source, language, year enacted, location, jurisdictional level, policy keyword, and whether or not its effectiveness has been measured and included in published analyses. The inventory only contains policies which demonstrate clear intent on the part of policy makers to address plastic at one or more life cycle stages. In addition, users can download other generally applicable policies found in searches for plastic policies from 2000 to 2020, illustrating other policies that may have impacts on the plastic waste stream but may not have been designed with the explicit intent of reducing plastic pollution.
20 Years of Government Responses to the Global Plastic Pollution Problem
Annual Trends in Plastics Policy: A Brief
The Evolving Global Plastics Policy Landscape: an Inventory and Effectiveness Review
All publications, including: infographics, case studies, and replicable methods brief →
About the Effectiveness Study Library
The Effectiveness Study Inventory is an updatable and searchable library of published literature with primary or secondary data regarding plastics policy effectiveness, beginning January 1, 2000, and currently updated to June 2022. This library was built using a robust methodological process developed with the support of research librarians and experts, and currently holds close to 120 entries on policy effectiveness for over 80 policy documents. All documents have been published in English. The entries include links to specific effectiveness studies, though not all of these are open access. Each entry includes metadata on the author, year published, policy key word, and linked policy document, where relevant.
Glossary of Database Fields
Throughout the inventory, we use certain terms to describe the entries in each database.
Peer-reviewed literature is evaluated by professionals in similar competencies before being published in a scientific or legal journal.
Grey (non peer-reviewed) literature is published through a university, intergovernmental organization, nonprofit organization, or other institution. It may undergo a peer-review process but does not have to in order to be published.
Data associated with this publication is considered primary if it is the original source, e.g. the authors collected and assessed data as a part of their methods.
Data associated with this publication is considered secondary if this publication is not the original source of data, e.g. the data is drawn from external resources. This means there may be limited information and uncertainty regarding methods used to collect and assess the results.
Trade-relevant: According to our review, this policy has been notified to the World Trade Organization’s Environmental Database as a measure intended to address plastic pollution.
Uses of the Inventory
We invite governments, industry, researchers, non-profits and other stakeholders to explore our inventory and use our database to help answer the following types of questions: Where are there policy gaps in terms of geography or response type? How are these policies designed and what components of existing policies could have an impact? How can we use existing policies to develop and improve upon new policies, perhaps in locations with limited capacity to enact legislation?
Inventory Citation Guidelines
When referring to policy documents or metadata downloaded from the website, and/or its concept or design, please cite its architects.
Example: Karasik R., Virdin J., J. Wilson. (Editors), 2023. Plastics Policy Inventory (https://nicholasinstitute.duke.edu/plastics-policy-inventory).
To help us track the use of Plastics Policy Inventory in your research, we ask that you cite Karasik, et al., (2023) as the source of the information in an appropriate part of your text.
Can't find what you are looking for? Find additional plastic policies documents and databases.
If you know of a policy document that is not in our database and are willing to share, or have any questions or suggestions, please email Rachel Karasik.
We would like to thank the following organizations for their support of the development, maintenance, and expansion of our plastics policy inventory work.
1. Jambeck et al. 2015
Thanks to Ria Utz, Melissa Skarjune, Juan Merlo Romero, and Andrew Dominguez for work on the March 2023 Update. Thanks to Christian Laspada and Janet Bering for work on the February 2022 Update. Thanks to Madison Griffin and Jonathan Schachter for work on the August 1, 2021, update. Thanks to Rizwan Kazi for work on the August 30, 2020, update.