Closing the Data Gap Challenge

A challenge to the research community

As the scale of the plastic pollution problem continues to grow, the need for reliable, consistent data has also grown in parallel. Various stakeholders connected to the plastics value chain are challenged by the absence of such data, which prevents them from understanding the nature and scale of the problem, taking action with evidence-based strategies, and monitoring progress over time.

By closing this data gap we improve the understanding of the cause and effect of plastic waste in different geographies, but also uncover effective interventions, investable opportunities, and best practices. 


Understanding the nature and scale of the data gap and to take concrete steps to solve it, The Circulate Initiative and The Alliance to End Plastic Waste (the Alliance) have come together to put forward a challenge to the research community: identify high-impact studies that would fill critical gaps in knowledge that are preventing action. 

We aim to identify and support projects to address recognized data gaps, unlock opportunities for our own organizations and others to engage and invest.


Closing the Data Gap Challenge (Data Challenge) is an initiative to support decision makers and other stakeholders with better quality data that will help prevent plastic pollution and advance a more inclusive, circular economy.



Key Areas of Focus

  • Address gaps in data that can be made available through the Alliance’s data platform

  • Improve the availability and quality of data relating to more than one of the following topics:

    • City level socio-economic indicators connected to the generation of plastic waste.

    • Municipal solid waste generated, composition, collected and responsibility for collection.

    • Plastic consumed.

    • Plastic waste material generated, collected, disposed and leakage.

    • Plastic waste management/end-of-life fates.

    • Waste workers, their livelihoods and work conditions

Countries of Focus: India, Malaysia and The Philippines

​The Data Challenge is interested in research in selected key cities across India, Malaysia and the Philippines. The cities outlined in the RFP serve as a starting point, however including additional states and cities in these countries where data can be successfully collected are welcome. For any questions regarding the Data Challenge or submitting a proposal, please get in touch

Applications are open from 27 September, 2021 to 31 October, 2021.

Watch the Webinar

On 14 October 2021, The Alliance to End Plastic Waste and The Circulate Initiative conducted an information session on the RFP for Closing the Data Gap Challenge. 

Download the RFP

For further details about the Data Challenge, scope, criteria and application process, please download the full RFP.

Submit a Proposal

Organizations interested in participating in the Data Challenge may submit a proposal below.