The Solving Plastic Waste CRC has been established, as of 1 July 2024, as a 10-year cooperative research centre, to assist in solving Australia’s plastic waste problem by enhancing end-user driven collaboration which addresses the current challenges across the entire plastics value chain.

Minister for Industry and Science The Honourable Ed Husic confirmed the Solving Plastic Waste CRC, one of two national CRCs to be funded in the Round 24 of the CRC Grants Program, would be established with $40 million in federal funding. The total resources available to the Solving Plastic Waste CRC is $140.6 million, including the CRC Program grant and contributions from partners.

The challenge of plastic waste pollution

Plastics are essential for producing many products used across most sectors of the global economy. However, the existing linear plastic value chain, where plastic products are designed for performance but not for recovery or reuse, is unsustainable with most of their economic value lost at end-of-life. The results are plastic waste pollution, a major environmental challenge of this century, and related concerns about the health risks posed by microplastics.

There is a global effort to eliminate plastic waste and create a circular economy for plastics. This has the commitment of the Australian Government which has joined the High Ambition Coalition with the goal of ending plastic pollution by 2040. Furthermore, all Australian Environment Ministers have agreed to work with the private sector to design out waste and pollution, keep materials in use and foster markets to achieve a circular economy by 2030.

The role of the CRC

The Solving Plastic Waste CRC will ensure that focused, industry-driven collaboration between the research sector, governments and the entire plastics value chain is effectively enabled over the next decade to transform the way plastic products are designed, manufactured, used, recovered, and recycled, and how microplastic soil pollution is remediated. This will be achieved by developing improved product designs, new materials, technologies, and processes, and by exploring new business models and economic systems.

It will accelerate Australia’s progress towards its targets of eliminating plastic pollution, establishing a circular and climate neutral economy for plastics, and growing a competitive, sustainable advanced manufacturing sector.

Partners

The partners relevant to the CRC bid span the entire plastic value chain and include: plastic manufacturers, plastic processors, major brand owners, recycling companies, relevant industry associations, and councils. They also include governments, industry bodies, non-government organisations, and universities.

Some partners in the application to establish the Solving Plastic Waste CRC are shown below:

CQU
USQ
UTS
AORA

If you are interested in learning more about the CRC and becoming a partner, please contact us.