Breaking the Plastic Wave

Dublin Core


Bailey, Richard., Boucher, Julien., Boughton, Jill., Castillo, A., Da, Mao., Favoino, Enzo., Gadgil, Malati., Godfrey, Linda., Gutberlet, Jutta., Kosior, Edward., Lao, Crispian., Lerario, Daniela., Moss, Ellie., Russo, Daniella., Sumaila, Ussif., Thompson, Richard., Velis, Costas.


Breaking the Plastic Wave

Date Issued

Jul - 2020


Fiona Curtin (Communications INC)


University of Oxford , Ellen MacArthur Foundation, University of Leeds, Common Seas.


Medio Ambiente, Economía Circular.


Breaking the Plastic Wave presents a first-of-its-kind model of the global plastics system. It is an evidence-based roadmap that describes how to radically reduce ocean plastic pollution by 2040 and that shows there is a comprehensive, integrated, and economically attractive pathway to greatly reduce plastic waste entering our ocean.




Plastic has become ubiquitous on store shelves and in our homes. From wrapped food and disposable bottles to microbeads in body washes, it’s used widely as packaging or in products because it’s versatile, cheap, and convenient. But this convenience comes with a price. Plastic waste is entering the ocean at a rate of about 11 million metric tons a year, where it is harming marine life and damaging habitats.

How did we get here? We have been producing vast quantities of plastic products and have had few measures in place to regulate their use or properly manage their disposal.

"Breaking the Plastic Wave," a global analysis using first-of-its kind modeling, shows that we can cut annual flows of plastic into the ocean by about 80% in the next 20 years by applying existing solutions and technologies. No single solution can achieve this goal; rather, we break the plastic wave only by taking immediate, ambitious, and concerted actions.