Breaking the Plastic Wave: A Comprehensive Assessment of Pathway Towards Stopping Ocean Plastics Pollution

Developed by The Pew Charitable Trusts and SYSTEMIQ, “Breaking the Plastic Wave: A Comprehensive Assessment of Pathways Towards Stopping Ocean Plastic Pollution” presents a first-of-its-kind model of the global plastics system. It is an evidence-based roadmap that describes how to radically reduce ocean plastic pollution by 2040 and shows there is a comprehensive, integrated, and economically attractive pathway to greatly reduce plastic waste entering our ocean.

The research supporting this report was co-developed with 17 experts from across the spectrum of professionals looking at the plastic pollution problem, with broad geographical representation. The findings of our analysis were published in the peer-reviewed journal, Science.

The aim of this work is to help guide policymakers, industry executives, investors, and civil society leaders through highly contested, often data-poor, and complex terrain.

By highlighting the systemic link between better plastic design, reuse, improved recycling economics, and increased collection incentives, these reports provided a central theme for the challenge addressed in “Breaking the Plastic Wave”: how to apply the concept of a circular economy—along with increased reduction and substitution of plastics, and better waste management—in a way that urgently addresses this serious environmental challenge.

The model is already being applied at the national level in Indonesia under the public-private collaboration National Plastic Action Partnership. This model can also be updated by stakeholders on an ongoing basis to inform solutions to the plastics pollution problem.

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