Plastic Management and Sustainability: A Data-Driven Study

Nesreen El-Rayes, Aichih Chang, Jim Shi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The world is experiencing a rapidly increasing plastic production and consumption trend. The exacerbating plastic crisis has attracted various initiatives and actions across numerous organizations to foster stakeholder collaboration. In particular, academic researchers have paid considerable attention to the inherent supply chain sustainability. This study aims to (1) examine the status quo of plastic management research and provide recommendations and directions gleaned from the literature survey using text mining; and (2) perform descriptive and predictive analysis based on datasets collected from governmental, public, private, and not-for-profit institutions in the United States between 2016 and 2021 to quantify the size and severity of the crisis on various levels. Echoing the same global plastic production trend, our study reveals that the plastic debris that ends up in the ocean is growing exponentially, and global plastic production is expected to fluctuate between 500 and 600 million metric tons by 2025. From a research perspective, there is a remarkable shortage of publications empowering Blockchain technology (BCT) to address the plastic crisis. Little research is related to scaling up the plastic waste collection and re-thinking or re-designing products. There is no significant connection between ‘re-purpose’ and ‘innovation’. The industry and not-for-profit organizations are typically the forerunners of the campaign compared to academia in terms of investigating the adoption of technology to address the plastic crisis. This study features rich data-driven results and interpretation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7181
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Science (miscellaneous)
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Hardware and Architecture
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


  • data-driven
  • plastic
  • production
  • sustainability
  • text mining
  • waste


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