Resource productivity and waste

Technical Expert Workshop on Modelling Approaches for Plastics Use Projections

22-23 June 2020


Technical Expert Workshop on Modelling Approaches for Plastics Use Projections

This OECD technical workshop convened leading experts for the quantification of plastics production and plastic waste generation, as well as experts in economic modelling. The workshop took stock of methodologies and databases to design projections of plastics use, production and waste. The aim was to consult with the experts to design a framework that allows for the evaluation of different policies, relying on structural economical drivers. The use of diverse methodologies and often disjointed data sources may present challenges in developing plastic projections and policy recommendations.

The workshop aimed at addressing the following questions:

    • What will be the likely increase in plastic use, production and disposal in the coming decades according to recent methodologies?
    • How can these current methodologies be improved or combined to create improved projections? What data and information is missing?
    • What are the pros and cons of modelling different types of plastic goods, technologies (e.g. recycled and biodegradable plastics) and different substitutes to plastic (biomass, glass, metals, etc.)?
    • What are the possible impacts on plastics of potential long run changes in behaviours implied by COVID-19 crisis?
    • What policy options should be included in modelling analyses to support policy makers?

The workshop consisted of 4 sessions:

Session 1 set the scene surrounding plastic policies. It took stock of what initiatives and policies already exist to tackle this problem (Osaka Blue Ocean Vision, single use plastic bans…). This session also examineed how modelling analysis and projections can contribute to assess the issue and the effectiveness of policies.

Session 2 looked at the state-of-the-art empirical approaches for baseline plastics projections, review the results and underlying techniques, and discussed their strengths while identifying potential areas for improvements.

Session 3 looked at how to integrate empirical studies within structural economic modelling.

Session 4 first dealt with plastic leakages in the environment and plastic footprints, and second took into account the existing international commitments (e.g. Osaka) and explored possible coverage of policies, including scenarios of international co-operation and partial commitments.

The concluding session brought together the key takeaways of the workshop, and explored potential synergies and collaborations among groups.

The outcomes of the workshop will inform the development of an OECD’s Global Plastics Outlook.

Working documents


Session 1

Session 2

Session 3

Session 4

Key literature on plastics and modelling

Engage with us

  • Join the conversation on Twitter: @OECD_ENV
  • Contact:;
  • To receive our latest Environment news, publications and events, sign up to MyOECD (choose Environment as an area of interest and tick Environment News under Newsletters).