Country-level plastic bag legislation against plastic waste and select Human Development Indices

Published: 16 December 2020| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/wtvnv9fv44.1
Lydia Gibson


This dataset makes use of the UNEP (2018) report, Legal Limits on Single-Use Plastics and Microplastics: A Global Review of National Laws and Regulations, to create tabulated data categorising the type of legislation on single-use plastic bags enacted in 190 countries, updated to March 2019. Categories are Restrictions (ban), Levy/tax, New legislation proposed, Extended Producer Responsibility, Disposal Regulations, No national law found. For countries with bans on single-use plastic bags, full vs partial bans have been indicated. The dataset also draws on plastic waste estimations published in an article by Jambeck et al (2015), which has informed both UNEP 2018 reports on single-use plastics. Finally the dataset includes three indices of the Human Development Index 2019: Employment in Agriculture, Foreign Direct Investment, and Exports/Imports. Analyses of this dataset sought to understand the factors that influenced the type of single-use plastic bag policy a country implements. The supplementary dataset from Jambeck et al shows that middle-income countries (though the economy of each country has been updated in this dataset to reflect the 2019 status) have higher levels of plastic waste than their counterparts. However, ANOVA sets show that it is low-income countries that are most likely to have the most stringent legislations (restrictions and levy/tax), while middle-income countries are more likely to have obscure and largely ungoverned legislation (namely disposal regulation).


Steps to reproduce

- Legislation can be reproduced by consulting UNEP (2018) report - Data from Jambeck et al (2015) can be found in supplementary data of article referenced below - Human development Indices 2019 can be found on HDI website


University College London


Conservation, Environmental Science, Development Studies, Sustainability, Plastic Waste