Critical review of global plastics stock and flow data

Wang, C., Liu, Y., Chen, W.‐Q., Zhu, B. ORCID:, Qu, S., & Xu, M. (2021). Critical review of global plastics stock and flow data. Journal of Industrial Ecology 25 1300-1317. 10.1111/jiec.13125.

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The production, consumption, and waste of plastics have been rapidly growing worldwide in the last decades. A variety of data are needed to characterize plastics stocks and flows across space, time, and life cycle to derive insights for developing strategies to address various sustainability challenges from plastics and plastics waste. Here we review data sources on plastics stocks and flows to identify data gaps and research needs. We categorize the reviewed data sources by life cycle stages of plastics including material production, semi‐manufacturing, manufacturing, additives, consumption, in‐use stock, end‐of‐life, waste treatment, and trade. We identify four data gaps in these existing data for characterizing plastics stocks and flows, including inconsistent classification, missing data, conflicting data, and inexplicit data for plastics products and waste. These data gaps represent critical research needs including common platform for data sharing, standard methods for data reconciliation and estimation, consistent data collection and reporting, and new approaches for data collection and curation. This review establishes the state‐of‐the‐art of plastics stock and flow data and develops a roadmap for a high‐quality, comprehensive characterization of plastics stocks and flows to develop management strategies to address the sustainability challenges of plastics production, consumption, waste, and pollution.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: data; industrial ecology; plastics; plastics waste; societal metabolism; stock and flow
Research Programs: Energy, Climate, and Environment (ECE)
Energy, Climate, and Environment (ECE) > Sustainable Service Systems (S3)
Energy, Climate, and Environment (ECE) > Transformative Institutional and Social Solutions (TISS)
Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 20 Apr 2021 14:45
Last Modified: 14 Mar 2022 13:50

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