Technological watch

Recycling of Plastic Waste: A Systematic Review Using Bibliometric Analysis

Research into plastic recycling is rapidly increasing as ocean and land pollution and ecosystem degradation from plastic waste is becoming a serious concern. In this study, we conducted a systematic review on emerging research topics, which were selected from 35,519 studies on plastic recycling by bibliometrics analysis. Our results show that research on the biodegradability of plastics, bioplastics, life cycle assessment, recycling of electrical and electronic equipment waste, and the use of recycled plastics in construction has increased rapidly in recent years, particularly since 2016. Especially, biodegradability is the most emerging topic with the average year of publication being 2018. Our key finding is that many research area is led by developed countries, while the use of recycled plastics in the construction sector is being actively explored in developing countries. Based on our results, we discuss two types of recycling systems: responsible recycling in the country where plastic waste is generated and promoting recycling through the international division of labor between developed and developing countries. We discuss the advantages and disadvantages of both approaches and propose necessary measures for sustainable and responsible production and consumption of plastics such as waste traceability system and technology transfer between developed and developing countries.

Publication date: 07/12/2022

Author: Ichiro Tsuchimoto

Reference: doi: 10.3390/su142416340

MDPI (sustainability)


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 870292.