Australia and India share the challenge of combatting one of the most pressing environmental issues: plastic pollution. They also share the ambition to transition to a circular economy for plastics.
In 2020, Australia and India elevated their ties to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, reflecting the countries' commitment to cooperation to address major global challenges. From this Partnership the ‘India-Australia Industry and Research Collaboration for Reducing Plastic Waste’ was created and funded by the Australian Government.
CSIRO, Australia's national science agency, was tasked with bringing together six institutions for a three-year research collaboration to catalyse innovation in plastic supply chains for greater circularity. Research activities include:
Metrics and data
- Develop metrics and establish datasets that enable assessment of the magnitude of plastics waste and how quickly waste flows are growing in India.
- Develop an understanding of the main supply chains for different polymers in India and associated waste flow destinations and leakages to waterways and oceans.
Innovation and technology
- Co-develop an industry and technology roadmap for a plastics circular economy unlocking future growth opportunities. These include short-term opportunities for enhanced recycling of current plastics waste flows and accumulated plastic stockpiles; and medium-and long-term strategies for industrial redesign and creation of new materials, products, processes and business models that allow for depolymerisation.
Policy and Behaviour
- Identify growth opportunities and new industries and factors enabling sector change, including assessment of infrastructure, regulations, market access, sector structure, skills and culture and strategic planning through the roadmap process.
- Evaluate and monitor the initiative, identify policy implications for economic and employment growth enabled by new industries based on scientific innovation, and plan for scale-up in follow-up bilateral activities between Australia and India.
- Establish new opportunities and create innovation capacity through identifying Australian industry partners to establish demonstration projects through industrial redesign and new business models.
- Implement demonstration projects located in different parts of India, including both urban and rural locations, small community scale and large industrial scale applications.
- Undertake assessments of economic and environmental implications of the demonstration projects.