Simplifying Complex Plastics Laws with Data Visualization

Plastic Pollution Coalition / 2023 / Environment & Climate Change

Hero image from the Plastic Pollution Coalition Visualization project designed by Graphicacy.


For their launch of, the Plastic Pollution Coalition (PPC) turned to Graphicacy to depict important plastics legislation data in compelling and accessible ways and provide guidance for maintenance and enhancements.

Background and Challenge

As the world begins to mobilize to combat the tremendous impact of plastic pollution, an influx of regulations has made sorting through or even finding the latest plastics laws cumbersome. Between geographical restrictions, language hurdles, and differences in jurisdiction, anyone doing research can easily get lost or miss out.

PPC, working with Break Free From Plastic Europe, Environmental Law Alliance Worldwide, and Surfrider Foundation US, developed to help tame the complex tangle of laws around the world.

The previous website hosted by PPC was primarily focused on reduction laws in the US, however. PPC and their partners wanted to make their online policy database and resource library more extensive, global, user-friendly, accessible, and easy to maintain. Additionally, the PPC team hoped to launch a revamped Global Plastic Laws website ahead of recent negotiations for the UN’s Plastic Treaty.

Opportunity and Solution

PPC turned to Graphicacy to revitalize and relaunch their database, depict the data in a compelling manner, and provide guidance for maintenance and enhancements.

Graphicacy’s wide-ranging expertise proved an ideal match for such a large and multi-faceted project, which included:

  • Facilitating a technical discovery and data consultation geared toward architecting the most efficient and performant technology stack for their back- and front-end data needs
  • Designing and developing a survey intake form and entry system for data partners to input and streamline the data collection process, including multi-lingual entries
  • Training PPC staff and data partners through video and reference documentation to ensure the proper hand-off and guidance for maintaining the solution
  • Launching the website with a UX/UI and information design lens
  • Designing and building a map-based database explorer
  • Creating a content management system in WordPress with the incorporation of WordPress-native add-ons and plugins to monitor analytics and performance

At the heart of Graphicacy’s data solutions was Airtable, which the Graphicacy team deployed to simplify the process of creating forms from databases. Airtable offered a user-friendly, no-code approach that streamlined form-building and the data entry experience for all users.

Graphicacy also focused on training PPC’s team to manage ongoing maintenance and updates on their own. They created training videos for PPC and provided instruction on using Airtable.

By partnering with Graphicacy, PPC was able to launch the revamped Global Plastic Laws website in time for UN’s Plastic Treaty negotiations, making the data easily digestible for audiences that included negotiators, legislators and staff, as well as for members from congresses or city councils.

Montage of images from the Global Plastic Laws site , designed by Graphicacy for the Plastic Pollution Coalition

"Their visualizations provide in-depth, expansive data that never overwhelms the user, which I really appreciated. And the overlapping talents on their team really helped to bring all the components together in a seamless way.”

Madison Dennis, Project Manager for Plastic Pollution Coalition

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