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National Guidance for Plastic Pollution Hotspotting and Shaping Action


The attention on plastic pollution has intensified in recent years among national governments and the global community. The ‘National Guidance for Plastic Pollution Hotspotting and Shaping Action’ (hereafter referred to as ‘the Guidance’) aims to provide a methodology for countries to identify plastic leakage ‘hotspots’, find their impacts along the entire plastic value chain, and then prioritise effective actions to stop the leakage at each hotspot.

The Guidance will help countries, regions, and cities to understand what kind of plastics are leaking into the environment, where they are leaking, and why the leakage happens. It supports users with a model workflow, including a set of tools and templates for data collection, analysis, diagnosis, planning and implementation.

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The Guidance takes a holistic approach, covering major types of plastic polymers and products, as well as their leakages and impacts along the full value chain.

The Guidance is co-developed by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and the Life Cycle Initiative.

Three core Guidance components
  1. Introduction to the Guidance (the report): The Guidance report presents an overview of the methodological framework, its structure and workflow, serving as a manual and quick reference for readers and users.
  2. Modules (Microsoft PowerPoint documents): The nine modules of the Guidance provide detailed scoping and definitions, data collection instructions, and modelling approaches. They are designed to provide technical experts with thorough explanation of the detailed modelling steps, mathematical formulas and parameters of the methodology.
  3. Data-collection and modelling tools (spreadsheets and templates): These tools will guide data collection, modelling and calculations and generate graphs with results support the user in drawing conclusions.
Three overarching questions under-pinning the Guidance

Where to act? (hotspots)
• Identify the predominant type of leakage and its impact along the plastic value chain
• Identify where the leakage is occurring at national, sub-national or local levels
• Identify the key driver of the leakage in the waste management system

What to do? (interventions)
• Identify and prioritise interventions to address the hotspots, while also considering potential environmental or socio-economic trade-offs

How to do it? (instruments)
• Identify and prioritise effective instruments, including regulatory, financial or informative measures, to implement relevant interventions

Users of the Guidance

The primary users of the Guidance are governments. They can use the results of the analysis to design, plan and implement policy instruments and actions to reduce plastic pollution. The Guidance is designed to be used primarily at national level, but the approach can be adapted to accommodate policy makers at sub-national and local levels. Stakeholders from the private sector, academia, and NGOs can support the application of the Guidance and benefit from the results as well.

Workflow of the Guidance

The workflow contains a technical stream (modules T1 to T6) and a strategic stream (modules S1 to S3)

Implementation Partners
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