Literature suggests a Kuznets relationship between plastic pollution and economic growth, where plastic pollution will grow as income levels per capita grows, before it starts decreasing at a certain point, corresponding to an inverse U-shaped relationship. However, expecting economic growth in the developing world to solve the problem of plastic pollution does not account for the culmination of plastic releases to the environment that has already taken place and continue to grow without proper measures.
As the Informal Recycling Sector represents a large, but marginalized portion of the agents involved in the Plastic Waste Value Network in developing countries, it makes sense to look at ways to improve their role in this system. However, among the many initiatives being outlined to improve plastic recycling, including but not limited to those mentioned above, we lack an understanding of what these initiatives will entail for this sector.
A main objective of this PhD project is to build a model that can simulate the processes involved in the Informal Plastic Waste Value Network with respect to drivers and barriers identified in the project and in literature. Such a model will allow stakeholders to evaluate and compare potential system interventions.