The implementation phase should include a pilot project to trial solutions within a designated area, with a goal to reduce plastic pollution by 30% in the pilot area.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution. Rather each city’s unique defining features and situation on the ground must inform the city’s approach. Policy prioritization should also carefully consider the waste hierarchy, with priority on upstream plastic prevention interventions that reduce the volume of plastic waste that must be collected and managed at the local level. These upstream interventions on production and distribution can be complemented by measures that create and support downstream markets and stakeholder interactions that improve waste collection and processing services, strengthen the local recycling sector and transition open dump sites to controlled disposal facilities.
No single policy is capable of ushering in a smooth transition, but a systematic approach that combines measures across the life-cycle of plastic and across all stakeholders in the city can lead to long-term success.
With a host of solutions available to municipal governments, as outlined in Policy Instruments and Best Practices, it is important to establish a process for prioritizing solutions that can effectively address the plastic challenges and baseline conditions existing within the city, as defined in Baseline Assessment.
A blended approach that leverages instruments across the spectrum, to include a mix of Regulatory Instruments, Financial Instruments, Voluntary Instruments, and Education Instruments, and that which combine both upstream and downstream measures, can create incentives that reduce production and consumption of plastics, while also increasing collection and recycling capacities.
But it must be emphasized, that local factors must shape municipal plastic policy. Such factors can include climate, attitudes and expectations of citizens, economic factors, animals, financial planning and purchasing, legislation, and architecture and infrastructure. What works in a European city of 400,000 people, can not be directly exported to a city in Brazil of 4 million people, or to a city of 20 million in China or India.
The living situations and needs of a city’s residents are vital inputs for designing and implementing successful waste policy. Do residents have space at home for 5 bins? Do they live in large apartment buildings or sparse homes in the countryside? Are they a young or ageing population? Such information can provide invaluable inputs that shape policy and public services from waste collection frequency, to source separation requirements and expectations, to willingness-to-pay for collection services.
Building on the local context, proposed solutions can be prioritised at a local level by assessing three key decision points:
Each key decision point contains important criteria with value levers that can be scored on a relevant scale, allowing for the comparison of different policy options.
Use a simple scoring method to evaluate and support your decision framework – access templates and examples within the Plastic Smart Guide.
(Download PDF below.)
Based on case studies and the existing body of research on plastic solutions , Plastic Smart Cities has categorized the core instruments into three generalized implementation phases: near-term, mid-term and long-term. Though, as outlined in this section, each city’s local situation and influences will ultimately dictate the appropriate prioritizations with consideration for Appropriateness-of-fit, Ease of Implementation, and Impact.
Recommended Phase 1 Actions (near-term)
Recommended Phase 2 Actions (Mid-term)
Recommended Phase 3 Actions (long-term)
 Measuring Urban Development and City Performance, Jasmina Mavrič and Vito Bobek, 2014
Focused on how cities and local governments can start their journey on becoming plastic smart - complete with templates, actionable recommendations, as well as both framework and examples. Submit your information to receive the Plastic Smart Guide in your inbox.