While the impact of the pandemic and the increase in use and waste of single-use plastics on the plastic litter problem has yet to be fully determined, many (Western) nations are still reacting to China’s 2017 Operations National Sword, which banned the import of low quality non-recyclable plastic waste, leaving countries scrambling on what to do with their existing plastic waste.

While looking for other takers of their plastic waste, numerous countries and regions have reassessed their plastic waste production, policies, and infrastructure at home. For example, the EU published the EU Plastics Strategy, a mix of 38 regulatory, economic and voluntary measures. The goal was ambitious: By 2030, all plastics packaging on the EU market is to be either reusable or recycled in a cost effective manner.

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