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

Tapping into the Latest Global Datasets

Incorporating the most up-to-date information is critical to P2O's capability to establish the 'story of today'

Scenario Analysis

P2O's projection capabilities enable global analysis throughout every component of the waste management system

Providing Direction for Societal Change

P2O enables us to plan interventions at global scale to reduce the flow of plastic into the environment


Shocking reports of plastic pollution have prompted concerted global efforts to mitigate its effects, yet the research-base that underpins this important subject is embryonic when it comes to understanding the complexities of this growing environmental challenge. In response to this need, under The Pew Charitable Trusts leadership and SYSTEMIQ project coordination we collaborated to co-develop the P2O model in order to understand the flows of plastic and plastic waste through global society.


This ‘first of a kind’ study used the ‘wedges approach’, first introduced in 2004 as a method of communicating potential interventions required to stabilise anthropogenically driven global warming. Dr Velis’ research team provided thought leadership in the waste and resource management aspects of the modelling effort.

Open burning of waste, a core yet under-reported aspect of plastic pollution is also under focus here. Ed Cook, Research Fellow at the Leeds team explained:

During open burning, the combustion is often incomplete, and all sorts of potentially toxic emissions are released, which can result in a range of negative health outcomes. Those obnoxious substances are being breathed in by people who are working with waste and also in the communities that live nearby.

In addition to tracking the mass of plastic flowing through the global system, the P2O model calculated the costs to global society from the production of plastic through to its management ‘after use’. This enabled our team to investigate the economic impact of plastics and to assess the potential consequences of interventions to mitigate the negative effects of plastic over the next two decades.

Other plastic pollution toolkits

World-leading toolkits, informed by science and engineering, helping us understand, visualise, quantify and solve plastic pollution challenges, whether local or global
A toolkit for a rapid assessment of a city or municipalities plastic pollution, focussed around those with failing waste management systems
A GIS toolkit for plastic pollution hotspots, transportation and accumulation in the environment, applied regionally to globally
A toolkit for a detailed assessment of plastic pollution, applied at a local neighbourhood level but scalable to whole regions