Local Policies & Regulation

Local policies and regulations play a crucial role in protecting the environment as a prevention act to support sustainable action and behavioural change at a larger scale. Policies and regulations that promote sustainability will restrict individual consumption and will regulate business production to take environmental aspects into account.

Key Considerations: Policies and regulations aim to change the attitudes and behaviour of individuals and businesses to promote better consumption and production, especially plastic, to prevent the creation of plastic waste. This is different from waste management activities, which are implemented to reduce the amount of waste already generated and produced.

The Problem

While local policy & regulation are vital tools in addressing the crisis, their effectiveness has been hindered by a confluence of complex factors. 

One key stumbling block lies in the global nature of plastic production, consumption, and waste management. Plastic pollution transcends borders and jurisdictions, making it difficult for individual policies to comprehensively tackle the issue. 

Moreover, enforcement and compliance mechanisms often lag behind the pace of plastic production, allowing for gaps that enable continued pollution. 

Addressing plastic pollution requires a multifaceted approach that goes beyond regulations alone, incorporating innovative technologies, public awareness campaigns, corporate responsibility, and global collaboration to create a comprehensive solution that can effectively stem the tide of plastic pollution.

Potential Solutions

Enacting policies and regulations that support sustainable practices and discourage excessive plastic consumption can drive behavioural change at a larger scale. Measures such as plastic bag bans, levies on single-use plastics, or extended producer responsibility (EPR) programs can influence consumer behaviour and promote waste prevention and reduction. 

In some environmental policy and sustainable urban development studies, there has been an increasing emphasis on notions of ‘the local’ as a key intervention. Solving the issue downwards, through localization did not simplify the problem but can be analyzed in local contexts and approaches that might work better than general regulations applied.


  1. Gibbs, D., & Jonas, A. E. (2000). Governance and regulation in local environmental policy: the utility of a regime approach. Geoforum, 31(3), 299-313.
  2. Steinebach, Y. (2022). Instrument choice, implementation structures, and the effectiveness of environmental policies: A cross‐national analysis. Regulation & Governance, 16(1), 225-242.

Case Studies

Single-use Plastic Levy
Single-use Plastic Ban
City Action Plan

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