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Closing the Loop

Our Approach


Closing the Loop and partners are building the tools and technology to help governments and organizations measure and monitor plastic waste within their cities. Using innovations like artificial intelligence, satellites imaging, drones, citizen science and waste flow modelling, we pinpoint the 'source to sea' movement of how plastic leaks into the marine environment from cities


Through resource sharing and designing strategic action plans this digital tool kit is helping cities create smarter policy approaches to combat the problem of plastic waste leaking into waterways and help shape effective action plans to end it for good.

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Measuring Plastic

In partnership with the International Solid Waste Association and the University of Leeds, Closing the Loop is applying the Plastic Pollution Calculator model to map plastic waste sources, sinks, hotspots and pathways in four ASEAN cities. This scientific methodology integrates social, environmental and waste governance data to identify the flow of plastics from land into rivers and oceans.

This tool answers questions like:

  • What type of plastic products are ending up in our waterways?
  • Where in the waste management process does plastic leak into the environment?
  • Where are the primary 'hotspots' of leakage and what policy solutions will be most effective?

This information provides a baseline assessment of the city's weaknesses and strengths in its waste supply chain. This is the first step to identifying the measures that need to be taken to stop plastic waste leakage.


An innovative virtual mapping tool has been created to support city governments to measure and manage their plastic waste. Using powerful algorithms trained by artificial intelligence the tool will scan images from a range of data sources and detect ocean-bound plastic pollution - like facial recognition but for plastic waste.

This tool answers questions like:

  • Where is the plastic pollution entering into rivers?
  • How much is there?
  • How does it move once in the rivers?

Combing the data from all these sources builds a virtual twin of the ocean, giving a full scope of the problem for the region allowing us to work together and find solutions to end ocean marine litter.


Once hotspots are identified, they can help identify policy priorities and investment strategies.

City-wide action plans are underway in four ASEAN cities to reduce plastic waste and initiate innovative circular economy practices.

  • Da Nang, Vietnam
  • Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
  • Surabaya, Indonesia
  • Nakhon Si Thammarat, Thailand

A new platform is also under development to automatically upload, analyze and most importantly - share among stakeholders working to end marine plastic.

Also, an eLearning course that aims to demystify the technical aspects of managing plastic waste in cities with a solution and action-based curriculum is available as an open-source knowledge product for anyone who wants to learn more about taking measures to ensure clear waters for future generations.