The Plastic Vote: Referendum As A Governance Tool To Combat Plastic Pollution

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review


Direct democracy is a vital element of governance in the United States that has been applied to resolve a wide range of policies. In recent decades only, hundreds of environmental issues have been put on for popular vote addressing, such as issues on energy, forests, natural resources, and water. Despite the widespread use of referendums in this domain, there have been only two popular votes on plastic—in the state of California in 2016 and the city of Seattle in 2009. This chapter investigates why these referendums occurred in the first place, the narrative used in the campaigns, and other factors that contributed to their adoption or rejection by the public. Most importantly, it examines whether referendums can be viewed as an effective tool of governance in combatting the problem of plastic pollution. All these aspects gain additional weight amid COVID-19 since hard-won plastic bag bans have been suspended in various communities, and the plastics industry has been seizing the moment and lobbying for further changes in the legislation.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPlastic Pollution
Subtitle of host publicationNature Based Solutions and Effective Governance
EditorsGail Krantzberg, Savitri Jetoo, Velma I Grover, Sandhya Babel
PublisherTaylor & Francis
ISBN (Electronic)9781003137740
ISBN (Print)9780367684808
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2023
MoE publication typeA3 Part of a book or another research book


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