Many resources offer information about existing policies targeting plastic pollution. While we have reviewed them, we have not been able to find every policy document referenced in these resources to add to the plastics policy inventory. If you are unable to find a policy document for an area of interest, consider searching the following documents and databases:
University of Portsmouth Global Plastic Policy Reviews
This database includes policy documents and available evaluation information for over 100 plastic initiatives, 60 of which are public policy approaches.
Review of existing policies and research related to microplastics
This report includes a summary of existing and planned national-level programs related to micriplastics across Europe, as reported in a survey of countries.
Macro problems from microplastics: Toward a sustainable policy framework for managing microplastic waste in Africa
This study includes a table of regulations on plastic waste across African countries, and provides information on the implementation status of these policies
The Strengths and Weaknesses of Pacific Islands Plastic Pollution Policy Frameworks
This study identifies potential strengths and weaknesses in national policy frameworks in 52 key documents relevant to plastic pollution in ten Pacific Large Ocean Small Island Developing States (LOSIDS).
Ocean Panel member progress search
The Ocean Panel website provides country stories and cases to governments and other ocean actors around the world and facilitates the sharing of knowledge and joint learning on the transition to a sustainable ocean economy. By using the search function, users can identify plastic initiatives taken by Ocean Pane member states.
Surfrider Plastic Reduction Policy Map
The Policy Map dataset includes over 1,000 subnational U.S. plastic reduction laws, featuring bag, polystyrene, and straw laws.
Plastic Reduction Policy Map
Governing plastic pollution in the oceans: Institutional challenges and areas for action
This article, explores some of these weaknesses and attempts to define areas for action in plastic policy: harmonization of international laws; coherence across national policies; coordination of international organisations; and science-policy interaction. It also includes tables of international policy and global policy-making fora, clarifying their role in addressing plastic pollution.
Worldwide actions against plastic pollution from microbeads and microplastics in cosmetics focusing on European policies. Has the issue been handled effectively?
This study includes a table of government actions to date on microbeads and microplastics as part of a larger review evaluating the presence of microbeads in cosmetics and ongoing actions to address microbeads.
Microplastic regulation should be more precise to incentivize both innovation and environmental safety
This article includes a table of Examples of current regulations for polymers, additives and primary microplastics around the globe.
Policy instruments to reduce consumption of expanded polystyrene food service ware in the USA
This paper examines the variety of policy instruments that can or have been used by local governments in the USA to reduce expanded polystyrene food service ware. It includes an appendix with 259 municipal bans on EPS food service ware in the USA as of December 2019
Policy Framework for Mitigating Land-based Marine Plastic Pollution in the Gangetic Delta Region of Bay of Bengal- A review
This study includes lists of policy examples within India and globally targeting differing plastics.
Policy responses to reduce single-use plastic marine pollution in the Caribbean
This paper reviews current policies in 13 English-speaking Caribbean countries, exploring tools used and process of implementation.
Transforming the Global Plastics Economy: The Role of Economic Policies in the Global Governance of Plastic Pollution
This article aims to identify effective international policy levers to address plastic pollution, and includes a number of examples of plastics policy. It takes stock of the evolution of views and perceptions on this complex and multi-faceted topic—from concerns about marine pollution and waste management towards new strategic directions that involve the entire plastics life-cycle and include climate and health impacts associated with the proliferation of plastics.
Challenges in the context of single-use plastics and bioplastics in Brazil: A legislative review
This article present a legislative review and discusses the difficulty in implementing policies related to the incentive of the bioplastics market, as well as presenting some state and municipal laws, already prohibiting single-use plastics in Brazil.
Government policies combatting plastic pollution
This review analyzes the subject focus of 45 articles (published 2019–2021), dealing with government action to regulate plastic pollution
A Regional Response to a Global Problem: Single Use Plastics Regulation in the Countries of the Pacific Alliance
This paper documents plastic policies and plans adopted by countries in the Pacific Alliance: Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Ecuador and Peru. It includes a number of multinational agreements, national legislation, and local ordinances, all in relation to plastic pollution mitigation at all stages of the plastic life cycle.
An information service on environmental law run by FAO, IUCN, and UNEP. ECOLEX is a database of treaties, treaty decisions, legislations, jurisprudence, and literature, where you can either search for policies directly, or use key words and filter by geographic area, language, year, country, and/or subject.
Evaluation of Legal Strategies for the Reduction of Plastic Bag Consumption
This report, a 2018 Master’s degree thesis, includes an appendix of proposed and implemented national and subnational policies targeting plastic bags through bans, levies, and voluntary intiatiatves, among others. Though it does not directly link to policy documents, it includes details and background information on their status, and in some cases, some data on policy effectiveness.
The FAOLEX database is a legislative database for any policies on food, agriculture, and natural resources management. Here, policies can be searched for directly or by using the advanced search, policies can be browsed by keyword and filter by geographic region and subject.
InforMEA is a United Nations run database on Multilateral Environmental Agreements. It contains a vast array of treaties, plans, agreements, legislation, and court decisions that can be filtered by geographic region, country, environmental topics (biological diversity, chemicals and waste, climate and atmosphere, environmental governance, land and agriculture, and marine and freshwater).
OECD PINE Database
This portal on Policy Instruments for the Environment gathers key quantitative and qualitative on different policy instruments (taxes/fees/charges, tradeable permits, deposit-refund systems, environmental subsidies, and voluntary approaches) in nearly 100 countries. Countries in the database are both members and non-members of OECD.
Plastic Pollution Coalition Legislative Toolkit
This digital platform contains over 1,000 pieces of legislation on subnational, national, and international scales that directly relate to plastic policy. Bag bans, bottle bans, taxes and fees, extended producer responsibility programs, and many more plastic policy instruments are covered by the platform.
Policies, Regulations and Strategies in Latin America and the Caribbean to Prevent Marine Litter and Plastic Waste
This information report by the UNEP was used to find recent policies combatting marine litter and plastic waste in Latin American and Caribbean countries. From pages 8-29, the report lists and describes many different international, national, and subnational policies and initiatives that have been enacted in Latin America and the Caribbean. For some countries, it includes policies that were being drafted at the time the report was written.
Tackling Plastic Pollution: Legislative Guide for the Regulation of Single-Use Plastic Products
This UNEP paper lists outlines the most used regulatory approaches and illustrates examples of actions taken by governments around the world, including sample legal provisions. This guide is a tool to help legislators and policymakers explore options for reducing the harmful impacts of single- use plastic products by regulating all stages of the plastic life cycle.
UNEP Global Partnership on Marine Litter Digital Platform
UNEP GPML is a digital, open-source, multi-stakeholder platform that compiles different resources, connects stakeholders and integrates data to guide action on key environmental issues globally. All stages in the plastic life cycle are covered by the database, with policies that span a number of regions and geographic areas.
Sea Grant Law Center Plastic Bag Memorandums
These two memorandums summarize plastic ban legislation by local governments and how that legislation is impacted by state laws. In particular, they examine the state laws that prohibit local governments from setting local standards on plastic bag use, state laws that ban or limit plastic bag use, and actions by local governments:
These recommendations were last updated July 2023. To share other papers or databases with relevant policies targeting plastic policies that could be added to this list, please contact Rachel Karasik.