FAQs

Why PLASTEAX ?


The issue of plastic pollution is sadly now well-established, but its quantification is still unprecise. Myriads of projects, innovations and initiatives have been born over the past few years, all hoping to find a solution to plastic waste mismanagement. Yet data to evaluate the efficiency of interventions is still lacking, making decision making difficult and progress tracking impossible. In order to accelerate actions for impact, accurate and transparent plastic waste management data at country and polymer level are key. The best openly available data currently used to assess plastic waste management are based on average data that are not specific to plastic, and are furthermore not adapted to local contexts or polymer types. The complexity of supply chains and the lack of transparency around waste management and actual plastic fate mean that data are difficult to gather, even for the most developed countries. PLASTEAX was born with the intent of bridging this information gap by providing data and actionable metrics that can be used by decision makers, scientists and citizens to take action and monitor progress.




What information can I find on PLASTEAX?


PLASTEAX provides you with collection, recycling, mismanagement, waste export and leakage rates of plastic. Two levels of data quality are available on PLASTEAX:

  • Generic data
  • High-quality data modelled using the ‘National Guidance for Plastic Pollution Hotspotting and Shaping Action’ developed for UNEP and IUCN




What high-quality data is currently available?


Countries for which high-quality data exists: Cyprus* Italy** Indonesia** Kenya* Mauritius** Menorca* Mozambique* South Africa* Spain** Switzerland** Tanzania* Thailand* USA** Vietnam* Countries for which high-quality data are in development (available in late 2021): Antigua* Barbuda* China** Colombia* Fiji* France** Germany** Grenada* Jamaica* Japan** Panama* Samoa* St Lucia* UK** Vanuatu* *Publicly funded data from IUCN and UNEP pilots, available for free **Privately funded, available on a pay-per-access basis We aim to cover up to 50% of the world’s countries by the end of 2021. In the meantime, the remaining 180 countries are available with generic data. New countries can be generated on demand; priority for developing new countries will be based on the requests received.




Can I access the data for free?


The data developed though public funding are available for free. The EA-funded country study results are available on a pay-per-access basis. When funding has been covered, the data will be released for free.




Who is PLASTEAX for?


I am from a national or local authority, how can PLASTEAX help me?
PLASTEAX data will help you understand the level of plastic pollution in your country / area, identify the waste mismanagement and plastic leakage hotspots and what is causing them, as well as suggesting solution pathways that you can translate into national waste reduction strategies. Thanks to polymer-specific data, local municipalities can implement interventions on specific waste streams, to effectively lower the risks of plastic pollution. I am a policy maker, how can PLASTEAX help me?
By enabling to map the waste value chain, PLASTEAX data will help inform your waste management policies, targeting lower leakages and increased circularity of materials. It will help you to understand the causes of leakages and point to the most effective regulations. PLASTEAX will also enable you to monitor the effectiveness of specific interventions. Thanks to polymer-specific data, policy makers can inform eco-modulation in Extended Producer Responsibility schemes on specific polymer of formats. I am an investors, how can PLASTEAX help me?
Be it for risk and opportunity assessment or (impact) investment ranking, PLASTEAX will bring you the necessary insight to inform your decision making based on high-quality data within any industry linked with plastic. I work in business and industry, how can PLASTEAX help me?
Assessing the impact of your product is the first step to your plastic / packaging / environmental impact strategy, including eco-design, waste management initiatives and development of value chain partnerships. It will help you assess in which market your product should be redesigned to lower your its impact, and where the hotspots are in your own value chain. PLASTEAX high-quality data will be key to an accurate impact assessment and mitigation strategy, as well as progress tracking and corporate goal development. Thanks to polymer-specific data, brand owners can adapt their packaging to the realities of the country in which they commercialize their product, switching to packaging that has better collection and proper waste management rates, or implementing take-back schemes for problematic packaging. Moreover, as a producer or brand owner, high-quality data is crucial should you plan to offset or use plastic crediting schemes. I represent an NGO or international organizations, how can PLASTEAX help me?
PLASTEAX will provide the necessary information and proof points in your efforts to raise awareness, influence regulations and advocate for or implement impactful actions. I operate in an academic capacity, how can PLASTEAX help me?
PLASTEAX is based on methodologies developed by world-renown experts. Data provided in PLASTEAX can help researchers develop the next innovations or models as well as develop the curriculum responding to actual challenges. I work for a consultancy, how can PLASTEAX help me?
PLASTEAX provides you with the highest-quality data needed to accurately assess your clients’ impact and translate that into strategic decision making mitigation strategies and communication roadmaps. I am a member of the media, how can PLASTEAX help me?
PLASTEAX supplies you with reliable information for investigative articles concerning one of the most pressing issues of our time. It offers data to inform the public on plastic waste, enabling you to use science to translate the current situation into actions for local citizens. it will also allow you to spot problematic situations such as leakage pathways which have not yet been addressed. I am a citizen, how can PLASTEAX help me?
PLASTEAX enables you to see what happens with your plastic waste in your country; how much is collected, where your recycling ends up, and what the chances are that the plastic you use will end up as leakage in the environment. It will help you to adapt your behavior accordingly, spread the knowledge and confidently ask for better products and policies.




How can I trust the data shown on PLASTEAX?


The methodology behind the modelling comes from the National Guidance for Plastic Pollution Hotspotting and Shaping Action research developed by world-renown experts and scientists, funded by IUCN through support of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and Agence Française de Développment (AFD). The research to pilot the methodology was conducted in 2019–2020 with support from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The methodology used to develop the data, developed by UNEP and IUCN, has followed a critical review process by world-renown plastic and LCA experts. The data generated with public funding have also been validated by a national steering committee, organized by IUCN, within a multi-stakeholders approach and governance.




Does PLASTEAX have a scientific committee in place?


A scientific committee is in development, in order to include other world-renown experts in plastic pollution quantification. This scientific committee will play a key role going forward in ensuring the integration of different methodologies and making sure the data and approach evolves over time in order to remain the go-to reference for plastic waste management data.




What is the difference between generic data and high-quality data?


The attached graph shows the mismanaged waste dataset of a Southeast Asian country. The first line shows the generic dataset, showing an average of 82% of plastic waste being mismanaged. It does not offer the breakdown per polymer type. The lines below show the high-quality data gathered using the UNEP Hotspotting methodology. Although ‘other’ plastics (which typically include multilayer multimaterial like foils and sachets) have a mismanagement rate of 77%, other polymers such as PET have a mismanagement rate of 32%, which remains significant but is much lower than the 82% given by the generic datasets.




How often will data be updated?


We plan for multiple releases per year as the data becomes available for more countries, is updated and / or new functionalities are added in PLASTEAX.




Are microplastics covered in PLASTEAX ?


In the current version, microplastics are not covered, but this scope is planned for a next release.




Who is behind the data used in PLASTEAX?


The data are generated through pilot project. Some of them are funded by funding agencies. Others are funded by public sector and EA investments. Kenya, Mozambique, South Africa, Tanzania, Thailand and Viet Nam were from work conducted as part of the IUCN Marine Plastics and Coastal Communities (MARPLASTICCs) and PlastiCoCo projects, through support of the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) and Agence Française de Dévelopement (AFD). The results for Menorca and Republic of Cyprus were conducted under the IUCN Plastic Waste Free Island project and funded by the Primat Foundation. For all datasets the source of funding is explicitly mentioned in the database and on the reports. Contact us if you wish to fund additional countries data development.




What is the long-term goal for PLASTEAX?


There are a variety of goals which include:

  • Making high-quality data available for all countries
  • Growing the network of stakeholders providing data, in a participative way
  • Setting up the best model to sustain high-quality feed with facilitated access to all stakeholders, ensuing yearly update of the data
  • Standardizing datasets to allow for more comparability and transparency in any type of footprinting and disclosure
  • Developing a governance that enables an international organization to host PLASTEAX and continue its development and use




How can I contribute to the PLASTEAX mission?


Aware of the urgency to make collection, recycling, mismanagement, waste export and leakage rates data available, PLASTEAX will first be released thanks to a combination of public, private and citizen funding, with a mixed model of both free and pay-per-access data to cover its development cost. You can support by helping fund the effort, and by providing data.

  • BUY DATA By purchasing PLASTEAX data you are provided with the highest-quality information on plastic waste currently on the market, while contributing to the development of missing datasets, so that data for all countries are made available.
  • PROVIDE DATA If you are in possession of primary data on plastic waste production, management and / or recycling in your country, we would be happy to assess their quality and integrate them in the model, using the "UN National guidance for plastic pollution hotspotting and shaping action". Feel free to reach out to us.
  • DONATE If you want to support research and data development, allowing more transparency on the plastic pollution topic, and allowing stakeholders working on resolving this issue to play their role in an optimum way, you can provide support by providing a monetary contribution via our webpage. Simply fill out the ‘support us’ form. PLASTEAX is hosted by EA, a non-for-profit mission-driven research consultancy, guaranteeing that no profit will be made from your donation.




Can I use PLASTEAX data to assess my circularity?


Yes, PLASTEAX provides information on the effective recycling of polymers or application put on a given market. This is key information needed to calculate your circularity. However, you will also need other information about the recycled content in your product, or number of reuse, which are not provided by PLASTEAX.