Raw material plastic roll set on feed set of high technology modern and automatic high speed continuous manufacturing process plastic bag sack or plastic envelope making machine for industrial use
Good decisions are based on good information. The Australian Government is investing in new plastic technologies and data system to track how plastic flows through our economy.
Actions to further research, innovation and data
Invest $20.6 million to create the new public-facing Waste Data Visualisation Platform.
$29.1 million through the Australian Government department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources to research projects that demonstrate innovative ways to recycle plastics and reduce plastics going to landfill.
Expand the National Plastics Survey to provide a comprehensive picture of the consumption, flow and recycling of plastics in Australia.
The Australian Government will expand the scope of the National Plastics Recycling Survey to provide a comprehensive picture of the consumption, flow, recovery and recycling of plastics in Australia.
CSIRO’s National Circular Economy Roadmap for Plastics, Glass, Paper and Tyres: Pathways for unlocking future growth opportunities for Australia (the Roadmap) provides valuable information to support the circular economy. It will be used by governments, industry and researchers to inform future decisions on investment, policy development and research priorities.
Waste impact management will be a National Environment Science Program (NESP) cross-cutting priority to support policy development, program management and regulatory processes in both marine and terrestrial environments.
Person with gloves holding a piece of grey plastic
Touching plastic pellets, plastic polymer dye granules colour clear blue
Technician working with plastic granules
The Australian Government supports research and innovation for plastics. Through the Cooperative Research Centre Projects grant rounds 8 and 10 the following research projects were delivered to demonstrate innovative ways to recycle plastics and reduce plastics going to landfill.
Cooperative Research Centre Projects round 8
The Australian Government is investing $2,700,000 to develop new advanced recycling and automated manufacturing processes that will utilise a high tonnage of recycled plastic waste in lightweight prefabricated building products (LPBP). This will expedite the recycling of plastic waste to reduce the costs of LPBPs whilst controlling their quality.
The Australian Government is investing $1,983,427 in technology that converts waste contaminated plastic to the feedstock for remanufacturing plastic. This project aims to extend the Integrated Green Energy Solutions Ltd (IGES) technology to become the next generation of processing technology that specifically targets the generation of naphtha from mixed and contaminated, post-consumer waste plastic as an optimised feedstock for the virgin plastics manufacturing industry.
The Australian Government is investing $2,950,000 to drive the development of a new plant in Victoria to upcycle hazardous claddings and co-mingled waste resources into higher value end-products. Examples of these products include recycled shoes and prefabricated building elements.
The process is further developed based on innovative and proven methods to fully recover plastics waste. At the end of their life-span, shoes and prefabricated building elements can be recycled. This will boost the complete circular economy of co-mingled waste.
The Australian Government is investing $650,000 to increase the re-use of HDPE plastic. HDPE is a high-quality material in demand for re-use but under 20% of used HDPE is now recycled. Increasing re-use represents tens of millions of dollars to industry. University experts will overcome this problem using sensors, polymers, systems engineering and environmental policy. They will work in partnership with technology, recycling and manufacturing companies.
CRC-P support will be used to identify a novel way to sense and treat residual contaminants on chips of HDPE in the recycling process. This will be unique worldwide and designed for industrial use for a broad range of plastics.
The Australian Government is investing $1,857,562 to develop the Australian Standard for (Aus. Std.) Diesel from landfill waste. Aus. Std. Diesel is one of the highest quality diesels in the world. Its production is a multi-step process including crude generation and refinement.
This project grows NOR's current refinery designs (diesel from single source waste) to allow processing of oil from mixed waste. This expands the diesel production in Australia by 20GL p.a., meeting 70% of Australia's demand (and injecting $20B p.a. into the economy), while lowering waste management costs by $53B per annum.
The Australian Government is investing $2,496,887 to develop a mobile plastic recycling container facility to process onsite 100% of single use plastics into valuable products. The project’s facility will connect remote communities to a global ethically recycled plastic marketplace to facilitate a real plastic circular economy.
Plastic waste has a significant impact on remote and vulnerable communities, where plastics are buried, burnt or dumped, and often end up in waterways and oceans. Because they lack waste services, pollution builds up and impacts all aspects of society. Current recycling models fail remote communities due to a lack of fit-for-purpose recycling equipment and high freight costs required.
The Australian Government is investing $2,361,232 conduct the necessary testing and development to achieve a reliable and economical solution for ROBOVOID, a revolutionary recycled plastic construction solution that can be exported to the global market.
This would enable the recycling of up to 6 million tonnes of plastic per year around the world. The solution involves clever modular recycled plastic parts that displace concrete that is not necessary to achieve the performance requirements of structures. The engineered voids result in weight savings of up to 75% and widespread adoption will result in a global CO2 emission reduction of up to 3%.
The Australian Government is investing $1,177,438 to scale-up patented bio-polymer technology. This will enable the recycling of comingled and contaminated waste plastics, without the need to sort the waste stream. The process overcomes the problem of how to achieve a circular economy in waste plastics, by using a series of organic polymers in its process to separate atomic bonds in the plastic so it can be reconstituted to the desired formulation, without any loss in strength or other properties. The process converts contaminants into inert non-toxic molecules.
The process will maximise opportunities for waste plastic to be recycled into valuable new products throughout the domestic and international supply chain, without the need to retrofit existing manufacturing equipment.
The Australian Government is investing $3,000,000 to create high quality engineered product from single use plastics for manufacturers via distributed microfactories.
The project develops an advanced, semi-automated manufacturing technology by which waste plastics are efficiently transformed into high value products at smaller scales than previously feasible, enabling recycling microfactories to be implemented locally. The process is modular, scalable and closed loop with zero waste. The product will be used to manufacture unique street furniture and linked to manufacturers nationwide.
Cooperative Research Centre Projects round 10
The Australian Government is investing $210,000 to deliver a product that has the potential to remove 150,000 tonnes of food waste as well as plastic out of Australian landfill and millions of tonnes globally each year. Stretch wrap, takes the form of cling wrap and pallet wrap. It holds together millions of pallets freighted across the country each year and keeps just as many meals fresh. This CRC-P will create a process in which we convert food waste into polyhydroxyalkanoates wrap, the only biopolymer that is compostable, landfill/anaerobic biodegradable and marine biodegradable. Meaning wherever it goes it will leave nothing behind.
The Australian Government is investing $ 2,999,220 to develop a template for upgrading existing Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs) to Smart Material Recovery Facilities (SMRFs) by introducing Internet of Things (IoT) automation and trial it in an existing MRF, aiming to increase post-consumer soft plastics recycling by 80 times 2018 levels delivering process engineered feedstock integrated with industry. It will address the waste export ban and contribute to Australia’s transition to a circular economy. SMRFs utilise the CurbCycle Solution for household segregation and collection of soft plastics. The solution will deliver efficient product stewardship and a rewarding community engagement tool. It enhances existing recycling infrastructure that may be used to lift recycling rates on other materials.
The Australian Government is investing $2,000,000 in the development and commercialisation of an AI-enabled autonomous sorting system and automated plant and polymer technology needed to upcycle residue plastics. The proposed sorting system and value-added products will increase Australia’s recycle capacity by 42,000 tonnes per year and divert 16,800 tonnes per year of plastic residue from landfill and foster a circular economy.
The Australian Government is investing $2,980,000 in technologies to convert plastic and paper waste into value-added additives for asphalt. State Asphalts and Asphaltech will use the products, whilst distribution partners Closed Loop and Primaplas will source waste materials and distribute recycled products. The work will create technical leadership, improve competitiveness through reduced infrastructure costs, and create environmental benefits through reducing landfill and exports of waste.
The Australian Government is investing $998,826 to scale-up a patented microbial-based biopolymer technology to manufacture a fully recyclable and compostable plastic resin (PHA) from food and paper waste, for use in single-use plastics. In so doing, the technology directly addresses the National Waste Policy goal of achieving 70% of Australia’s plastic packaging being recycled or composted, as well as creating avenues for diverting food and paper waste from landfill. Australian plastics manufacturers will use the PHA in existing manufacturing processes to confirm the resin can be used without the need for factory retrofit, and validate the properties of the resin in target end products, providing a scalable pathway to first sales both in Australia and abroad.