This professional seminar reviews the current relationship between plastic and the environment, and offers an overview of plastic materials and plastic production processes. Accumulation of plastic waste in the natural environment and the toxicology of plastics and their additives will be discussed. Waste management solutions for different types of plastics will also be investigated. Both traditional and emerging recycling methods will be highlighted, with particular emphasis on mechanical and chemical recycling processes. In addition, analysis methods and instrumentation to characterize recycled plastics — and the differences in virgin polymers and recycled polymers — will be introduced. In order to investigate and quantify the sustainable metrics of emerging recycling processes compared to conventional ones, the ideas of industrial ecology and lifecycle assessment will be touched upon. Finally, policy measures on plastics production will be discussed.