Go to content


Capital expenditure (CapEx)
Funds used by an organisation to acquire or upgrade assets such as property, buildings, technology or equipment.
Closed-loop recycling
In the context of this model, the recycling of plastic into new plastic products within the same application (eg, packaging to packaging; textiles to textiles).
Central locations where collected waste is deposited but is not controlled through daily, intermediate or final cover, thus leaving the top layer free to escape into the environment through wind and surface water.
Engineered landfill
Central locations where collected waste is deposited and controlled through daily, intermediate and final cover, thus preventing the top layer from escaping into the environment through wind and surface water.
Incineration with energy recovery
The destruction and transformation of material to energy by combustion.
Informal sector
Individuals and enterprises involved in private-sector recycling and waste management activities that are not sponsored, financed, recognised, supported, organised or acknowledged by the formal solid waste authorities.
Mechanical recycling
Operations that re-process aer-use plastics through mechanical processes (eg, grinding, washing, separating, drying, re-granulating, compounding) without significantly changing the chemical structure of the material.
Primary microplastics are those originally produced or directly released into the environment as micro-sized particles (less than 5 millimetres in size). Secondary microplastics are micro-sized fragments originating from the degradation of large plastic waste into smaller plastic fragments once exposed to the environment.
Mismanaged plastics
In the context of this report, refers to any macroplastic or microplastic volume that does not end recycled or disposed of in a controlled manner. It would include those in unsanitary landfills / dumpsites, burned in open pits, or released into land or aquatic environments.
Mono-material packaging
Items made from a thin single plastic polymer, such as plastic wraps and bags.
Multilayer/multi- material packaging
Items made of multiple plastic polymers that cannot be easily and mechanically separated, or items made of plastic and non-plastic materials (eg, thin metal foils or cardboard layers) that cannot be easily and mechanically separated.
Open burning
Waste that is combusted without emissions cleaning.
Open-loop recycling
In the context of this model, the recycling of materials for use in a different application (eg, packaging to textiles, textiles to benches, durables).
Plastic pollution
Broadly, all emissions and risks resulting from plastics production, use, waste management and leakage (follows definition from OECD).
Plastic-to-plastic conversion
Petrochemical feedstock produced through chemical conversion technologies that can be reintroduced into the petrochemical process to produce recycled virgin-like plastic.
Plastic waste
in the context of this report, encompasses any plastic volume that has ended its use-phase or that has been lost or released during any other phase. This would include any plastic no longer in use-phase, microplastic releases, mismanaged pellets, or loss of fishing / aquaculture gear.
Recycling rate
In this report, the (effective) recycling rate of a region or sector refers to the volumes of recycling output divided by the total volume of plastic waste generated in that region or sector.
The geographical groups by which the model segments the data and analysis, as follows:
  • Europe;
  • the USA and Canada;
  • Japan, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand and Australia;
  • Central and South America and the Caribbean;
  • China;
  • South/Southeast Asia and Eurasia (excluding countries in other groups);
  • India; and
  • Africa and the Middle East.
(See the Technical Appendix for further details).
Rigid packaging:
An item made from a single plastic polymer that holds its shape, such as a bottle or tub.
Single-use plastic
A product that is made wholly or partly from plastic and that is used once (or for a limited period of time) before being discarded. Single-use plastic is not conceived, designed or placed on the market to accomplish, within its lifespan, multiple rotation cycles by being returned to a producer for refill or reused for the same purpose for which it was conceived.
Virgin plastics
in the context of this report, refers to plastics manufactured from fossil-based (e.g. crude oil) or biobased (e.g. corn, sugarcane, wheat) feedstock that has never been used or processed before (follows definition from OECD).