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A Global Treaty on Plastics Pollution

March 2022 was a landmark moment for the international community's efforts to tackle plastics pollution. The United Nations Environmental Assembly adopted resolution 5/14 to “End plastic pollution: Towards an international legally binding instrument”.

The first International Negotiation Committee (INC) meeting to  develop the details of the treaty was held in Uruguay in November 2022. The INC is expected to meet four or five times, with the intention that its work will be completed by the end of 2024.

The research team at University of Leeds has been central to efforts to understand the scale of the problem and the potential solutions. We are actively supporting the development of an ambitious treaty to tackle plastics pollution.

The teams has led or been a collaborator on many of the studies and methodologies used to understand the problem and potential solutions, including  Breaking the Plastic Wave, SPOT and the Plastics Pollution Calculator. Understanding the scale and nature of the problem - and the potential effect of different measures to solve the problem at local, national and international scales - forms a key element of the team's work and will be central to a successful treaty.

Dr Costas Velis will be chairing UNEP's Community of Practice on the Harmonization of  Models and Methodologies, a key forum for developing effective tools for understanding and tackling plastics pollution.

See our news page for more information.

Plastic Pollution Toolkits

Plastic-to-Oceans Model (P2O)

A first of a kind model to analyse the stocks and flows of plastic waste flowing through global society

Plastic Pollution Calculator

A toolkit for a detailed assessment of plastic pollution, applied at a local neighbourhood level but scalable to whole regions.

SPOT Model

A GIS toolkit for plastic pollution hotspots, transportation and accumulation in the environment, applied regionally to globally.

Waste Flow Diagram

A toolkit for a rapid assessment of a city or municipalities plastic pollution, focussed around those with failing waste management systems

Circular Economy and Global South Toolkits


A methodological tool and training package to more objectively quantify and elaborate potential impacts and benefits of selective waste collection and recycling services, including those operated by waste pickers


A toolkit for performing a combined technological, socioeconomic and environmental analysis of resource recovery systems


An analytical framework and tool for integrating the informal recycling sector in waste and resource management systems in developing countries