Consumer-based actions to reduce plastic pollution in rivers: A multi-criteria decision analysis approach

Last modified: 
September 3, 2020 - 5:05pm
Type: Journal Article
Year of publication: 2020
Date published: 08/2020
Authors: Luca Marazzi, Steven Loiselle, Lucy Anderson, Stephen Rocliffe, Debbie Winton
Journal title: PLOS ONE
Volume: 15
Issue: 8
Pages: e0236410

The use and management of single use plastics is a major area of concern for the public, regulatory and business worlds. Focusing on the most commonly occurring consumer plastic items present in European freshwater environments, we identified and evaluated consumer-based actions with respect to their direct or indirect potential to reduce macroplastic pollution in freshwater environments. As the main end users of these items, concerned consumers are faced with a bewildering array of choices to reduce their plastics footprint, notably through recycling or using reusable items. Using a Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis approach, we explored the effectiveness of 27 plastic reduction actions with respect to their feasibility, economic impacts, environmental impacts, unintended social/environmental impacts, potential scale of change and evidence of impact. The top ranked consumer-based actions were identified as: using wooden or reusable cutlery; switching to reusable water bottles; using wooden or reusable stirrers; using plastic free cotton-buds; and using refill detergent/ shampoo bottles. We examined the feasibility of top-ranked actions using a SWOT analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) to explore the complexities inherent in their implementation for consumers, businesses, and government to reduce the presence of plastic in the environment.

Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No