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Accelerating the shift towards a global circular economy

A circular economy promotes the continual use, recycling, and regeneration of materials and products. Resources are valued and products are designed for their durability, repairability, and recyclability. 

Our research is focused on:

  • scientific knowledge to shift our economy from a linear to a circular mode
  • data and technologies to avoid waste, recover resources and add value to end-of-life materials
  • collaborations to develop circular economy markets and inform decision-making to support a national framework for a circular economy

What is the definition of a circular economy? 

A circular economy aims to sustainably reuse materials through reuse, repurposing, recycling and remanufacturing. 

Closing the loop as a circular economy reduces the amount of materials we extract from our lands and seas. It designs out waste from the get-go, adds value to materials many times over, creates economic value and conserves scarce natural resources. Resources are valued and products are designed for their durability, repairability, and recyclability.

This approach eliminates waste and pollution, creates circular products and materials at their highest value, and reduces environmental impacts. 

Shifting our economy from linear to circular

What is a linear economy vs circular economy?

A linear economy is a take-make-dispose model. It depletes natural resources, generates waste, is costly, limits innovation, furthers social inequity and makes Australia less resilient.

Presently, the majority of all the raw materials we dig up or grow is processed, used once and thrown out. We generate over half a tonne of household waste, per person, per year. This linear economic model poses significant environmental and economic challenges.

Only 3.7 per cent of Australia's economy is ‘circular’. This provides a significant opportunity to increase waste recovery for economic growth, while reducing demand on natural resources. It is estimated that new circular products from waste resources could provide market opportunities with the potential of a $210 billion economic boost for Australia to 2050.

Australia is making the shift to a circular economy

Innovative science to support the transition

Australia’s National Waste Policy has a target of diverting 80 per cent of all waste from landfill by 2030. This strategy aims to boost Australia’s capacity to export high-value recycled materials to establish pathways towards a circular economy. A Circular Economy Ministerial Advisory Group has also been established to guide Australia’s transition to a more circular economy by 2030.

We are supporting Australia’s transition through multi-disciplinary research aligned with achieving Australia’s circular outcomes.

Our research is accelerating the shift

Multidisciplinary teams working on circular economy strategies and principles

Our leadership in innovation and sustainability is revolutionising how we manage our resources. We have multidisciplinary teams working on circular economy research - including social science - which can help protect the environment and propel Australia towards a circular economy.

Our circular economy research can support a range of sectors to become more sustainable and competitive through economic enablers. This includes energy, plastics, agriculture, manufacturing, and mineral resources.

Contact us

By leveraging our research and cutting-edge technologies, together we can contribute to a more sustainable, circular economy in Australia. Our R&D capabilities can assist in delivering real-world solutions to minimise waste, conserve resources, and foster economic resilience.

Find out how we can work together to contribute to a more sustainable circular economy.

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