The Science Behind...


Dr Costas Velis, Principal Investigator of the Leeds team:

The science behind the P2O model incorporates years and years of research and data analytics on global benchmarking of waste and resource recovery systems: from plastics circularity, to informal recycling sector, to gloablised secondary material markets, to links of waste performance indicators with socioeconomic development levels.

P2O uses our knowledge of global waste management systems and practices to describe the pathways through which plastics flow through society from cradle to grave, and through fragile loops in the circular economy. It taps into the latest datasets on plastic waste and municipal solid waste management, alongside industrial production and manufacturing statistics to establish a baseline assessment of our plastic use, management and fate across eight socio-demographic and geographic archetypes.

With the ‘story of today’ demonstrated, we used the P2O model to explore a series of projection scenarios that compared the economic consequences of doing little or nothing with a range of intervention profiles aimed at stabilising the daunting rise of plastic pollution.

P2O is a coupled ordinary differential equation (ODE) model coded in Matlab by the University of Oxford with the full code available here.