Regulation of plastic from a circular economy perspective

Kristian Syberg*, Maria Bille Nielsen, Lauge Peter Westergaard Clausen, Geert van Calster, Annemarie van Wezel, Chelsea Rochman, Albert A. Koelmans, Richard Cronin, Sabine Pahl, Steffen Foss Hansen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReviewpeer-review


Plastic pollution is one of the major global environmental challenges and is, therefore, attracting increased societal attention. This has resulted in the adoption of a long array of national and international policies∖ targeting plastic pollution. Whereas early plastic pollution regulation focused mainly on banning specific plastic products such as plastic bags, more recent focus has been devoted to the full plastic value chain. The aim of this focus is to facilitate a transition toward a circular plastic economy. This review first describes the historical development of policy initiatives targeting plastic pollution, followed by a review of the key legislations at each step of the plastics value chain. Finally, the review introduces policy measures most often used since 2018 to target plastic pollution and discuss the importance of regulation that facilitates the transition toward a circular plastic economy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100462
JournalCurrent Opinion in Green and Sustainable Chemistry
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We acknowledge MarinePlastic, a Danish Centre for research in marine plastic pollution, sponsored by the Velux Foundation, grant number 25084, for providing the funding for the participation of KS, SFH, MBN, and LPWC.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier B.V.


  • Circular economy
  • Environmental regulation
  • Plastic pollution
  • Policy measures

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