Presently, several Asian countries have national regulations or bans on single-use plastics. Bangladesh, the first country to have a national ban on plastic bags, passed the ban in 2002[1], long before the problem of single-use plastic bags became a mainstream issue. China issued a ban in 2020 with phased implementation[2], the first phase of which started at the end of 2020 and the last phase commencing in 2025. India also issued a ban on single-use plastics that will take effect in 2022[3]. Implementation has generally been found to be wanting and some national bans have been said to be riddled with loopholes. In countries without a national plastic regulation or ban, local governments have taken it upon themselves to regulate single-use plastics. There are cities that have figured out how to do it right — resulting in high compliance among households and reduction of plastic waste generation.

In this publication, we put a spotlight on the cities of San Fernando (Pampanga) and San Carlos (Negros Occidental) in the Philippines; Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala, India; and Jakarta, Indonesia. Hopefully, these policy models can catalyze other cities and communities to expedite efforts in addressing plastic waste, starting from regulating single-use plastics.