With our global community now fully aware of the growing plastic waste challenge, many initiatives have been launched by international research agencies, intergovernmental working groups, national and regional governments, as well as industries. These organizations have engaged stakeholders, conducted critical research, and developed guidance documents, practical manuals and employable solutions.

Plastic Smart Cities has aggregated the very best of these resources here for your reference, and we will continue to add resources to this library as further guidance comes available.


European Commission


Preparing a Waste Prevention Programme

A guidance document to support the development of a Waste Prevention Programme. The handbook clarifies the main concepts related to waste prevention, suggesting a framework to develop Waste Prevention Programmes and providing best practices and examples of national and regional programmes employing an effective mix of measures. 

A European Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy

The strategy presents key commitments for action at EU level, while mobilizing the private sector, together with national and regional authorities, cities and citizens. With decisive and concerted efforts, the strategy empowers the European community to turn challenges into opportunities and set the example for resolute action at a global level.




Policy Approaches to Incentivize Sustainable Plastic Design

A range of policy instruments can be applied to improve the sustainability of plastics, including regulations, market-based instruments, information and voluntary tools. The report reviews the current use of instruments in each of these categories, provides a number of good practice examples, such as product taxes and charges, eco-design standards, extended producer responsibility and environmental product labels, as well as discussing opportunities for their future applications.

Improving Markets for Recycled Plastics

This report looks at how we can increase plastics recycling volumes, as the pervasiveness of plastics is becoming an urgent public health and planetary problem. Not only is the diffusion of waste plastics into the wider environment creating hugely negative impacts, but plastics production emits approximately 400 million tonnes of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions annually as a result of the energy used in their production, transport, and final waste treatment. Improved plastics collection and recycling represents a promising solution to these concerns.

Reference Manual on Strategic Waste Prevention

In recognition of the multi-faceted and often poorly understood nature of waste prevention, the OECD has published a reference manual on strategic waste prevention. The reference manual provides guidance to those public authorities that have chosen to design, implement and improve waste prevention policy programmes.

A Guidance Manual for the implementation of the OECD Recommendation on ESM

The agreed framework for ESM was a Council Recommendation that includes policy recommendations for governments as well as practical technical guidelines to be implemented by waste management facilities: the so-called “core performance elements”.

Tackling Environmental Problems with the Help of Behavioural Insights

Behavioral insights can help policy makers obtain a deeper understanding of the behavioral mechanisms contributing to environmental problems, and design and implement more effective policy interventions. This report reviews recent developments in the application of behavioral insights to encourage more sustainable consumption, investment and compliance decisions by individuals and firms. Drawing on interventions initiated by ministries and agencies responsible for environment and energy, as well as cross-government behavioral insights teams, it portrays how behavioral sciences have been integrated into the policy-making process.


The World Bank


What a Waste: 2.0

What a Waste 2.0: A Global Snapshot of Solid Waste Management to 2050 includes global, regional, and urban trends on solid waste management from technical and operational trends to environmental and social impacts. The topics covered in the publication include waste generation, waste collection, waste treatment and disposal, financing models, operational models, technologies, citizen engagement, environmental impact, and informal sector impact.

Solving Marine Pollution

This report presents solution models for three types of marine pollution originating on land: wastewater, agricultural runoff, and marine litter. It examines the status and impacts for each pollution type, and provides pollution management case studies with cost-benefit analysis where available. The report provides a menu of pollution abatement options to help countries and their development partners improve the health and productivity of coastal and ocean areas.

Indonesia - Marine debris hotspot rapid assessment 

The Marine Debris Hotspot Rapid Assessment for Indonesia was conducted by the World Bank at the request of relevant Indonesia government agencies and research institutions, to provide an informed and focused analysis of land-based leakage of solid waste, particularly plastics, to the marine environment. The assessment was a rapid study carried out in two phases, providing up-to-date information from 15 cities in western and central parts of Indonesia.


Basel Convention


ESM of Plastic Wastes

Technical guidelines for the identification and environmentally sound management of plastic wastes and for their disposal.

Manual on Extended Producer Responsibility

This manual provides stakeholders with general guidance on the implementation of extended producer responsibility (EPR). It includes general considerations, goals and objectives, criteria for possible products, key elements to be considered, a strategy to formulate policy, as well as challenges in the implementation of EPR.




Marine Plastic Debris and Microplastics, Global Lessons and Research to Inspire Action and guide Policy Change

Plastic litter in the ocean can be considered a ‘common concern of humankind’. This study summarizes the state of our knowledge on sources, fate and effect of marine plastics debris and microplastics, and describes approaches and potential solutions to address this multifaceted issue. The study is divided into four main sections: Background, Evidence Base, Taking Action, and Conclusions and Key Research Needs.

Mapping of Global Plastics Value Chain and Plastics Losses to the Environment 

This report provides a comprehensive global mapping of plastic losses to the environment throughout the plastic value chain using 2015 as the reference year. This mapping covers plastics production and processing, use of plastics or plastic containing products, and disposal of the products. 

The State of Plastics: World Environment Day Outlook 2018

The world urgently needs to rethink the way we manufacture, use and manage plastic. This paper sets out the latest thinking on how we can achieve this. It looks at what governments, businesses and individuals can do to check the runaway production and consumption of plastic.

Valuing Plastic: The Business Case for Measuring, Managing and Disclosing Plastic Use in the Consumer Goods Industry 

The objective of this report is to help companies manage the opportunities and risks associated with plastic use. It articulates the business case for companies to improve their measurement, disclosure and management of plastic use in their designs, operations and supply chains.

Plastic Tide Turners Challenge Badge Toolkit

From cutting back on our use of single-use plastic to recycling more effectively to finding sustainable alternatives to plastic, solutions to plastic pollution are within our grasp. In this leadership challenge, you'll learn what those solutions are and how we can be a part of them. 

Legal Limits on Single-Use Plastics and Microplastics: A Global Review of National Laws and Regulations

This report provides a global overview of national regulatory frameworks adopted by 192 countries to control plastic bags, single-use plastics and microplastics pollution through national laws. It provides a snapshot of the types of regulation currently existing for each stage of the plastic lifespan, from manufacture or production, to use, and finally disposal. It is intended for use as a reference for countries and other interested stakeholders seeking to understand the approaches currently being used to address plastic pollution.

Single-Use Plastics: A Roadmap for Sustainability - Factsheet for Policy Makers

Ultimately, tackling one of the biggest environmental scourges of our time will require governments to regulate, businesses to innovate and individuals to act. This paper sets out the latest thinking on how we can achieve this. It looks at what governments, businesses and individuals have achieved at national and sub-national levels to curb the consumption of single-use plastics. It offers lessons that may be useful for policymakers who are considering regulating the production and use of single-use plastics.

Marine Litter Legislation: A Toolkit for Policy Makers

Far too much of the 300 million tonnes of plastic produced every year finds its way into our oceans, food chains and ecosystems, damaging our health in the process. Well-designed laws can help reverse this global trend. This report provides an overview of legislation that countries have implemented to tackle marine litter, focusing in particular on upstream solutions.

Training Module: Shifting from Open Dumping to Controlled Dumping and Sanitary Landfilling

A policy shift from open dumping to sanitary landfilling has implications on local preparedness to operate and manage a landfill as well as on how the current dumpsites will be abandoned. Consequently, there is a need to build and enhance the technical and management capacities of local authorities. In recognition of this need and as part of UNEP global effort to promote environmentally sound technologies, IETC developed training programmes for capacity building. This publication is a Training Module on Solid Waste Management designed especially for local authorities and their staff. 




Plastics Policy Playbook: Strategies for a Plastic-Free Ocean

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.



Waste Atlas Map Visualizations

Waste Atlas is a crowdsourcing free access map that visualizes municipal solid waste management data across the world for comparison and benchmarking purposes. Waste Atlas is made with the contribution of scientists from different countries and the utilization of published data.