India and Australia share the issues of accumulating plastics waste ending up in landfill or leaking to waterways and oceans resulting in a loss of material value and creating adverse environmental impacts. Both countries also share the ambition to enable innovation across the plastics supply chain through research and industry collaboration to achieve a circular plastics economy. This research prepares the foundation for a circular economy transition by identifying the size of the issue, creating a roadmap, co-developed with industry and government stakeholders, of how to best drive change in plastics supply chains and to demonstrate innovation on the ground in a series of demonstration projects.

CSIRO is collaborating with partners in both India – The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI), the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and Development Alternatives; and Australia – University of New South Wales (UNSW) and the University of Technology Sydney (UTS).

Research outcomes

The three-year research program will result in:

  • a comprehensive knowledgebase of plastics material flows from import and domestic production, to use, disposal, recycling and reuse;
  • a full supply chain analysis of plastics use in key sectors including packaging, agriculture, construction, automotive, electronics and household appliances sectors identifying supply chain actors and physical and monetary interactions;
  • a roadmap identifying the main technical innovations, both at community and large industrial scale, that will help to innovate across the plastics supply chain reducing end-of -life plastics waste and enabling design for circularity;
  • a set of principles and strategies including institutional and economic factors, new business models and markets that facilitate the transition to a circular plastics economy;
  • a series of demonstration projects located in different parts of India including in urban and rural locations and both small and community scale and large industrial scale applications of circular economy; and
  • a continuous process of evaluation and learning that will build a knowledgebase that can be scaled up to the whole economy for all types of materials to foster circular interactions.

Planned for initially three years the research and industry collaboration aspire to creating additional funding for achieving a circular plastics economy. It will build a platform for research and industry collaboration between India and Australia beyond the duration of this work.