To advance our understanding of the environmental fate and transport of macro- and micro-plastic debris, robust and reproducible methods, technologies, and analytical approaches are necessary for in situ plastic-type identification and characterization. This investigation compares four spectroscopic techniques: attenuated total reflectance-Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (ATR-FTIR), near-infrared (NIR) reflectance spectroscopy, laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS), and X-ray fluorescence (XRF) spectroscopy, coupled to seven classification methods, including machine learning classifiers, to determine accuracy for identifying type of both consumer plastics and marine plastic debris (MPD). With machine learning classifiers, consumer plastic types were identified with 99, 91, 97, and 70% success rates for ATR-FTIR, NIR reflectance spectroscopy, LIBS, and XRF, respectively. The classification of MPD had similar or lower success rates, likely arising from alterations to the plastic from environmental weathering processes with success rates of 99, 81, 76, and 66% for ATR-FTIR, NIR reflectance spectroscopy, LIBS, and XRF, respectively. Success rates indicate that ATR-FTIR, NIR reflectance spectroscopy, and LIBS coupled with machine learning classifiers can be used to identify both consumer and environmental plastic samples.