Achieving a circular economy for plastics in Australia will require profound change; in 2021 Australians used 3.8 million tonnes of plastics (152 kg per person), more than 40% were for single-use applications, only 12% of end-of-life plastics were recycled and 84% were sent to landfill.
It is widely acknowledged that the progress on solving the plastic waste problem nationally must accelerate and that greater collaboration between all the stakeholders is required.
In order to achieve Australia’s national targets, the Solving Plastic Waste CRC will serve as an essential bridge between industry, researchers, and governments. This is enabled uniquely by the CRC model which fosters the long-term partnership required between these companies and the research sector to achieve high impact outcomes.
The Solving Plastic Waste CRC is focused on designing out plastic waste, supporting the transitions of companies in Australia’s plastics value chain to a circular and climate neutral plastic economy by 2030, and growing advanced manufacturing. The plastic value chain is fundamental to advanced manufacturing, packaging, food and groceries, as well as the waste and resource recovery sector. Through its activities, the CRC will contribute to the global competitiveness, productivity, and sustainability of Australian industry.
It will deliver new jobs, skills and regional solutions by growing sustainable businesses and new markets, whilst creating a valuable circular economy for plastics resulting in a cleaner and safer environment.
Additionally, the CRC will play a critical role in providing all levels of government with independent evidence-based advice necessary to establish the regulatory and commercial environment for a circular economy.
The Solving Plastic Waste CRC will be established as a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee. It will be governed by a majority independent skills-based board.
The Solving Plastic Waste CRC has a Term Sheet, developed in consultation with its partners, which further articulates the governance and management of the CRC and will form part of the package of information made available to prospective CRC partners.
Links to Australian Government priorities
The CRC will address two of the National Reconstruction Fund priority areas: Value-added in resources, and Renewables and low emission technologies. Its research includes the Science and Research of advanced manufacturing, food, and soil and water.
The CRC will also support achieving the Australian Government’s: National Plastics Plan; National Waste Action Plan targets; commitment to the High Ambition Coalition’s goal of ending plastic pollution by 2040; and the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment to a circular economy for plastics.
What is a CRC?
The Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) Program is a Commonwealth Government program supporting industry, research and the community by providing grants for medium to long-term (< 10 years), industry-led research collaborations.
CRCs are independent entities, established and governed as incorporated companies limited by guarantee and comprise industry led collaborations between industry, researchers and the community.
The focus is on research and development that will have commercial uses. The CRC Program aims to improve the competitiveness, productivity and sustainability of Australian industries, especially in government priority areas, use high quality research to solve industry identified problems, and encourage SMEs to take part in collaborative research.
With more than 230 CRCs being funded since the program’s commencement, the Australian Government has committed more than $4.8B in CRC funding.