Circular Economy Roadmap for Reducing Plastic Waste in India

December 6th, 2023

Our research highlights future pathways to increase the repair, re-use and recycling of India’s plastic waste.

rubbish on the streets in India

The challenge

India is among the largest producers of polymers and among the largest generators of un-managed plastic waste leaching into terrestrial and marine ecosystems. 

Currently, only 8 per cent of plastic in India gets recycled, 29 per cent is mismanaged, and the rest is incinerated or dumped. But India also has an economy and culture that repairs, re-uses and recycles its resources.  

India recognises the scale and complexity of the plastic waste problem and its interconnectedness with global ocean plastic pollution and global warning concerns.

India is aiming to reduce plastic waste by driving innovation and enabling new technologies and business models to build its circular economy.

Our response

We produced the National Circular Economy Roadmap for Reducing Plastic Waste in India to highlight challenges and opportunities to enable new growth industries and employment in a zero plastic waste economy in India.

The roadmap was produced as part of an Australia-India Comprehensive Strategic Partnership involving an international team of Australian and Indian research institutes including CSIRO, the University of New South Wales, the University of Technology Sydney Institute for Sustainable Futures, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research-National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (CSIR-NEERI) and Development Alternatives.

The roadmap applies Australian expertise and offers a comprehensive view of the entire plastics value chain and systemic recommendations towards a circular economy for plastics in India. It highlights the urgent needs for India’s plastics industry, and sets a path to transition to a circular economy to address environmental issues and foster positive economic outcomes.


Building a circular economy in India would create value from plastic waste, and prevent it polluting the environment.

The findings in the roadmap indicate that by 2035, landfill would be reduced by 30 per cent, single-use plastics could be phased out, recycling rates could increase to 67 per cent, and over 80 per cent of waste streams could be digitally tracked and managed.

This can be achieved through better infrastructure, effective recycling, consistent compliance, increased commercial viability of technologies, sustainable consumption, and circular production and design to reduce waste. 

The roadmap also shows that diverting plastic waste into resources would also lead to a cleaner environment, with 20-50 per cent less greenhouse emissions, and improved air quality.