Solutions for a world without mismanaged plastic
We conduct interdisciplinary research and innovate to resolve some of the grand challenges of our times: plastic pollution is largely due to failures of waste and resource management systems and limited circular economy opportunities for after-use items and materials. In particular across the Global South, 2-3 billion of people do not have access to waste collection and safe disposal services and infrastructure – as our analysis for the seminal UNEP Global Waste Management Outlook elaborated.
Here, we showcase research efforts to understand, conceptualise and quantitatively model plastics pollution from solid waste across the world, with emphasis in the Global South.
Models we led the development of and/or co-created in major international collaborative efforts (ISWA Plastic Pollution Calculator, Waste Flow Diagram, SPOT, P2O), are capable of describing sources pathways and receptor hotspots, associating the plastic pollution to its origins and therefore providing ideal opportunities for preventive engineering and policy interventions. Our models are based on advanced data analytics, work at different scales – from local, to regional to national to global – and quantify multiple forms of plastic pollution: from open dumping to open burring to terrestrial dispersion, to flux into waterbodies. In our plastic pollution models we incorporate decades of expertise in waste and resources management, informal sector recycling (waste picking), circular economy and global benchmarking. Our work is directly linked to achieving SDGs, not least sound waste collection, treatment and disposal (11.6.1), effective recycling (12.4), and prevention of marine litter due to land-based pollution sources (14.1).
No challenge is too big to address for the human ingenuity and societal determination: Here, we strive to provide the evidence base for equitable and genuinely sustainable solutions to plastic pollution, avoiding problem shifting, enabling a genuinely sustainable circular economy
Explore our work in quantifying and preventing plastic pollution, ending mismanaged waste worldwide, and enabling global circular economy, beyond just traditional resources recovery. Preventing plastic pollution is possible, and our work delivers the analytical tools to show how and prioritise actions. We are passionate about it, working across all continents: join our collaborative efforts to create the scientific evidence base for effective solutions and to distill these from international fora such as the UN Environment Assembly to practical improvements in local communities.