P2O was a collaboration between practitioners and academics from across continents
Funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts and under SYSTEMIQ project coordination, the University of Leeds collaborated with international experts and partner organisations, such as the University of Oxford, in an 18-month project to co-develop the P2O model. Our team provided leadership on waste and resource management aspects and conceptualising and quantifying the overall system approach. In particular we oversaw one of four working groups of international practitioners and academics that focused on gathering data and developing the underlying logic to describe how waste plastics are collected, sorted and transported between nations. Our team was able to draw upon our longstanding research on global waste benchmarking, including insights on the informal recycling sector activities, developed through projects such as SoCo and InteRa, allowing us to estimate waste picker’s contribution to global recycling efforts.
Collaborating with some of the leading marine science research centres, such as the University of Plymouth, we were able to develop the fundamental logic to describe the rate of plastic waste transfer across the land and into the water. These efforts were underpinned by geographical information system (GIS) modelling that was used to adjust the rate of plastic mass transfer according to the distance between the point of generation on land and the riverbanks and coastal waters.
It was such a hard work – endless iterations to simplify a super complex global system to the bare minimum variables and relationships, to source and quality assure the datasets, to bring computational effort under control. Also great fun – the pleasure of working with great minds in the most dedicated fashion. And for Ed Cook, core researcher in our team, a marathon of endurance!
Richard Bailey – Professor of Environmental Systems, University of Oxford
Julien Boucher – Co-founder Quantis and Shaping Environmental Action
Jill Boughton – Founder Waste2Worth Innovations
Arturo Castillo – Research Fellow, Imperial College London
Mao Da – Executive Director, Shenzhen Zero Waste
Enzo Favoino – Researcher, Scuola Agraria del Parco di Monza
Malati Gadgil – Independent Consultant, Informal sector waste
Linda Godfrey – Principal Researcher, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, South Africa
Jutta Gutberlet – Professor, University of Victoria
Edward Kosior – Managing Director, Nextek
Crispian Lao – Founding President, Philippine Alliance for Recycling and Material Sustainability
Daniela Lerario – CEO, TriCiclos Brazil
Ellie Moss – Senior Adviser, Encourage Capital
Daniella Russo – Co-founder and CEO, Think Beyond Plastics
Ussif Rashid Sumaila – Professor, University of British Columbia
Richard Thompson – Professor, University of Plymouth