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National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis

Project Description

Like other forms of pollution, plastic pollution is a negative externality in market economies that leads to social costs that are often not accounted for, but there is no single recommended framework or consensus for how to proceed with estimating the dollar value of avoided plastic pollution emissions under different management scenarios. The consequences of plastic pollution are far-reaching, including harms to wildlife and habitats, damage to property, impediments to navigation, economic costs to local communities, and impacts to human health. Under Executive Order 12866, agencies are required, to the extent permitted by law, “to assess both the costs and benefits of the intended regulation and, recognizing that some costs and benefits are difficult to quantify, propose or adopt a regulation only upon a reasoned determination that the benefits of the intended regulation justify its costs.” A robust and scientifically-grounded approach for estimating the dollar value of avoided plastic pollution emissions would allow agencies to understand the benefits of reducing plastic pollution emissions or the social cost of increasing such emissions. Toward this aim, the National Center for Environmental Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) is proposing the formation of a Working Group on the Cost of Plastic Pollution. For the first time, this Working Group would lay the groundwork for determining the best approach and developing a framework for quantifying the dollar value of avoided plastic pollution emissions, whether it be through estimating social cost using Integrated Assessment Models or using a marginal abatement cost approach or some other alternative approach deemed to be more appropriate by the working group.

Plastic Pollution group photo

Principal Investigator(s)

Erin Murphy, Adam Domanski

Project Dates

Start: July 1, 2023

End: June 30, 2025



Adam Domanski
Enduring Econometrics Work
Levi Helm
Arizona State University
Jenna Jambeck
University of Georgia
Kara Lavender Law
Sea Education Association
Benjamin Maurer
National Renewable Energy Labatory
Marisa Morse
University of California, Santa Barbara
Erin Murphy
Arizona State University
Erica Nunez
The Ocean Foundation
Andrew Scheld
Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Mary Ellen Ternes
E and W Law
Amy V. Uhrin
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
Kristy Wallmo
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

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