Research Program 1: Plastics design for circularity

This program will design, develop, manufacture and commercialise new plastic materials and products that enable greater avoidance, reuse, recycling, decomposability and degradability. Subsequently, minimising waste production and creating new and profitable circular businesses, jobs and capabilities.

Priority areas of research interest identified by industry and end-users include:

  • Bio-based plastics
  • Easily recyclable plastics
  • New plastics to infinite recyclability
  • Malleable and recyclable thermosets
  • Biodegradable and compostable plastics
  • Plastics demonstration plant for circular economy

Research Program 2: Transforming plastic waste

This program will develop and commercialise new technologies that maximise plastic recycling and value through better sorting and separation, recycling technologies and processes optimisation, creating new advanced manufacturing opportunities, regionally based recycling infrastructure and facilities, skills and jobs.

Priority areas of research interest identified by industry and end-users include:

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) techniques for smart sorting of mixed plastic wastes
  • Advanced plastic recycling processes
  • Upcycling plastic waste for high value-added applications
  • Transforming plastic waste into synthesis gas, hydrogen and synthetic liquid fuel
  • Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) models for plastic waste management
  • Standards and specifications for plastic waste derived materials/products

Research Program 3: Clean up and remediate the environment

This program will develop approaches and new technologies to detect, remove and remediate plastic pollutants and minimise further plastic waste entering the environment; thereby reducing the potential impacts of plastic pollution on human, animal and environmental health.

Priority areas of research interest identified by industry and end-users include:

  • Detection of macroplastics in aquatic and terrestrial environments
  • Removal of plastics from aquatic environments
  • Determining microplastic contamination in Australia’s agricultural land and vegetation
  • Mitigation of plastic pollution in environmental matrices
  • Developing novel protocols for evaluating impacts and risk of plastic pollution

Research Program 4: Collaborating for a circular plastic economy

This cross-cutting program will develop innovative education tools and effective engagement and collaboration across key stakeholder groups. It will serve as a driver in how we rethink, reimagine, develop and implement a viable and valuable circular economy for plastics in urban, regional and remote communities.

Priority areas of research interest identified by industry and end-users include:

  • Evidence-based decision support tools for industry and Government
  • Mapping stakeholder innovations for circular collaboration
  • Engagement and behaviour change in urban and regional communities
  • Enabling a circular economy for plastics via product stewardship
  • Zero plastic waste 2032 Olympics