India and Australia collaborate on innovative solutions to combat plastic waste

India and Australia have joined forces to address the mounting issue of plastic waste, which poses a significant threat to the environment, including waterways and oceans.

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India and Australia have joined forces to address the mounting issue of plastic waste, which poses a significant threat to the environment, including waterways and oceans. Recognizing the urgency of the matter, both countries are committed to promoting innovation across the plastics supply chain through a collaborative research program to achieve a circular plastics economy.

The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) is collaborating with esteemed partners, including The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), and Development Alternatives in India, as well as the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) in Australia.

Over the course of three years, this comprehensive research initiative aims to generate significant outcomes that will lay the foundation for a circular economy transition in the plastics sector. Key objectives include:

  • Identifying the magnitude of the issue.
  • Developing a roadmap in consultation with industry and government stakeholders.
  • Driving transformative change in plastics supply chains through the implementation of innovative solutions.

One of the primary outcomes of the program will be the creation of a comprehensive knowledge base detailing the flow of plastics, from import and domestic production to usage, disposal, recycling, and reuse. Understanding the entire supply chain will enable researchers to pinpoint critical areas for intervention and improvement.
Furthermore, a thorough supply chain analysis will be conducted, focusing on key sectors such as packaging, agriculture, construction, automotive, electronics, and household appliances. This analysis will identify the actors within the supply chain and evaluate the physical and monetary interactions, providing valuable insights into opportunities for optimization and waste reduction.

The research program will also produce a roadmap that outlines the main technical innovations required to revolutionize the plastics supply chain. This roadmap, developed in collaboration with industry and government stakeholders, will highlight strategies, institutional and economic factors, new business models, and emerging markets that facilitate the transition to a circular plastics economy.

A series of demonstration projects will be undertaken in various parts of India to showcase the practical implementation of circular economy principles. These projects will encompass urban and rural locations, as well as both small-scale community and large-scale industrial applications. By demonstrating the feasibility and benefits of circular economy practices, these projects aim to inspire wider adoption and replication.

Moreover, the research program emphasizes the importance of continuous evaluation and learning, ensuring that the knowledge base expands and evolves. This iterative process will enable scaling up to encompass the entire economy and a wide range of materials, fostering circular interactions across various sectors.

While initially planned for three years, this research and industry collaboration aspires to secure additional funding to achieve a circular plastics economy. Beyond its immediate goals, this partnership aims to establish a robust platform for ongoing research and collaboration between India and Australia, ensuring sustained progress and innovation in the field.

By harnessing the combined expertise of both nations and promoting cross-border knowledge exchange, India and Australia are paving the way for transformative change in the plastics sector. This collaborative effort holds the promise of mitigating plastic waste, safeguarding the environment, and building a more sustainable future.

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