The mismanagement of plastic materials has grown to become a mounting global pollution concern that is closely implicated in unsustainable production and consumption paradigms. The ecological, social, and economic impacts of plastic waste mismanagement are currently transboundary in nature and have necessitated numerous methods of government intervention in order to address and mitigate the globalized and multifaceted dilemmas posed by high rates and volumes of plastic waste generation. This review examines the current landscape of a plastics economy which has operated with a linear momentum, employing large quantities of primary resources and disincentivizing the functioning of a robust recycling market for collecting plastic waste and reintegrating it into the consumer market. This contextualizes an increasing plastic pollution crisis that has required global efforts to address and mitigate the ecological risks and socio-economic challenges of mismanaged plastic waste. A timeline of government interventions regarding plastic pollution is described, including numerous international, regional, and local actions to combat plastic waste, and this is followed by an examination of the relevance of the extended producer responsibility principle to improve plastic waste management and obligate industry to assume responsibility in waste collection and recycling.
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