Plastics Policy Playbook: Strategies for a Plastic-Free Ocean

Ocean Conservancy, Trash Free Seas Alliance
Type of Resource: 
Guides and Manuals
Technical Reports / References
This playbook builds on insights from previous reports by Ocean Conservancy’s Trash Free Seas Alliance to develop an action-led response focused on the most systemic challenges and the most critical countries. Stemming the Tide (2015) identified that 80% of the plastic leaking into the ocean was never collected as part of a formal waste management system and 60% currently enters the ocean from five focus countries in Asia—China, Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. The Next Wave (2017) identified that collection in these focus countries is largely underfunded and a net cost activity for most waste streams. Poor collection infrastructure, coupled with a limited budget for solid waste management and high quantities of materials with low residual economic value, results in a net deficit—a financing gap—between revenues generated and costs incurred across the plastic value chain. To achieve the Ocean Conservancy goal of zero plastic in the ocean by 2030, the economics of collection must improve. While there has been clear progress with widespread policy and private sector commitments to reduce ocean plastic, more effort is needed. This playbook provides a holistic framework of the most promising public and private sector measures across the value chain to improve the economics of collection, including a set of key principles for success, as well as a roadmap to demonstrate a potential pathway that countries can follow. It targets national government, local government, corporates and non-governmental organizations (NGOs). While the research was conducted on the five focus countries, the outputs are relevant globally where similar waste management challenges exist or will likely exist because of continued economic growth, namely Africa and Latin America. In practice, this playbook can: • Educate key stakeholders on the menu of options available to improve the economics of collection and reduce ocean plastic • Align national or local governments on viable combinations of measures based on a specific country context • Inform evidence-based policy, sharing the trade-offs and enabling conditions to encourage proactive steps • Enable stakeholders to prepare for regulatory landscape shifts • Support the progress of national and local roadmaps, helping ensure key measures are included and that the principles for success are integrated