Securing Costa Rica’s Sustainable Future: A multi-level perspective analysis of the sustainability transition to operationalise the 3Rs in the plastic waste management system in Costa Rica.

Plastic waste and pollution have proliferated globally causing environmental degradation and biodiversity loss. Costa Rica hosts 5-6% of global biodiversity and struggles to balance socio-economic development with environmental protection in the context of plastic waste management. This system is analysed through the multi-level perspective using primary data collected from semi-structured stakeholder interviews and secondary data from policy documents, reports and articles. It aims to understand how the transition to a 3R (Reduce, Reuse, Recover) compliant plastic waste management system is progressing and identify how it could be supported. Findings show windows of opportunity emerging as societal landscape changes pressuresthe political and market regime to adopt progressive plastic waste management policies. Momentum is building with niche-innovations aligning through learning, network expansion and articulating needs to promote increased recovery. However, reduce and reuse strategies are less developed. National and local governments are essential in enabling niche-innovation, opening key markets and achieving co-benefits.