26 September 2023

CSIRO adopts mission to cut plastic waste

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The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) has adopted a pledge to help Australia reduce its plastic waste by 80 per cent this decade.

Chief Executive of CSIRO, Larry Marshall, announced $50 million in initial funding for the Organisation’s Ending Plastic Waste Mission, which aims to deliver cutting-edge science and innovation to change the way Australia makes, uses, recycles and disposes of plastics.

“The Ending Plastic Waste Mission will bring together the whole innovation system, from Government, industry and academia to turn science into solutions that will benefit the environment and create economic opportunities for Australia,” Dr Marshall said.

“By working together, by aligning our efforts, and by pushing each other further for a common cause, we can tackle seemingly impossible challenges – like protecting our environment while making sustainability profitable for business,” he said.

“And we can achieve it faster.”

Dr Marshall said Australians consumed one million tonnes of single use plastic each year – with just 12 per cent of that recycled.

Mission Lead at CSIRO, Deborah Lau said it would take a combination of solutions to address the plastic pollution problem.

“Our mission will be the national catalyst for systematic change to tackle plastic pollution,” Dr Lau said.

“It will drive a significant co-ordinated response across the innovation sector and bring science and technology to the forefront to help deliver a myriad of solutions to end plastic waste.”

She said research under the Mission included the development of innovative technologies, materials, products and processes; utilising plastic waste to deliver economic benefits; and revolutionising packaging and waste systems.

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