Determining the Social Costs of Plastic Pollution
The National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis is developing a framework to help governments estimate the costs of plastic pollution, taking into account the amount of plastic waste entering the environment, how long plastics last, and their impacts on the environment.
Type of Project: Research
Project Dates: September 2023 - June 2025
Who is involved?
With support from the NOAA Marine Debris Program through the NOAA Cooperative Institute for Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Systems, the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) will form the Working Group on the Cost of Plastic Pollution whose aim is to develop a framework for estimating the dollar value of avoided plastic pollution.
What is the project and why is it important?
Like other forms of pollution, plastic pollution has many impacts on wildlife, the environment, property, and the economy. However, there are hidden costs to this global problem that are often not taken into consideration. Currently, there is no universal or agreed upon method for estimating the benefits of reducing plastic pollution nor the social costs of increasing this pollution.
To address this knowledge gap, the NCEAS is forming the Working Group on the Cost of Plastic Pollution, whose aim is to develop a framework for estimating the dollar value of avoided plastic pollution. This working group will include subject matter experts across a number of economic and scientific disciplines, including marine debris and waste management experts, policy experts, and fisheries and environmental economists. This robust and scientifically-grounded approach for estimating the dollar value of avoided plastic pollution will allow agencies to understand the benefits of reducing plastic pollution or the social cost of increasing this pollution, helping local, state, and federal public agencies make better-informed decisions on the management of the manufacturing, use, and disposal of plastics.