Skip to main content

Express interest: As an individual As a business

Circular economy

Australia is serious about reducing our waste and putting valuable recycled materials to work.

To do this we are:

  • working to meet or beat 80% recovery rate of our waste by 2030
  • regulating the export of glass, plastic, tyres, paper and cardboard
  • investing more than A$1 billion to turbocharge our waste and recycling industries
  • supporting industry-led recycling schemes through the A$26 million National Product Stewardship Investment Fund
  • halving our food waste by 2030.

 

$70 billion
In grants and incentives

Australia offers nearly A$70 billion in grants, incentives and funding pools to Australian-based companies across priority sectors.

Source: Accenture

Australia is committed to creating enough onshore capacity to reprocess waste plastic, paper, glass and tyres, which were previously exported, keeping these value-added materials in our economy. The Recycling and Clean Energy National Manufacturing Priority road map identifies growth opportunities in:

  • recyclable products and packaging
  • cleaner feedstocks for remanufacturing (and enabling tech)
  • products from recycled feedstocks (such as plastic, organic waste or e-waste)
  • recycling clean energy components (including PV panels, wind turbines and batteries).

A future circular economy in just three areas – food, transport and the built environment – could create an economic benefit to Australia of A$23 billion in GDP by 2025. (Source: KPMG)

Australia’s waste sector is undergoing a seismic shift. We’re improving resource recovery, increasing the use of recycled material and better managing waste material flows and transitioning to renewable energy sources. There’s strong support for pioneer entrepreneurs who are designing for the future and disrupting the way we extract, manufacture, reuse and recycle resources and products.

Reducing our footprint by making a greater impact

To drive the evolution to a circular economy, Australia is backing schemes to modernise and transform how we manage and treat waste under the National Waste Policy Action Plan.

This is supported by the $A250 million Recycling Modernisation Fund, which is on track to generate over A$1 billion of investment in recycling infrastructure and drive a billion-dollar transformation of Australia’s resource recovery industry. The RMF will modernise Australia’s recycling infrastructure increasing our circular economy capabilities by finding innovative solutions for onshore recycling and supporting remanufacturing of products with recycled content. This will ensure we can achieve commitments under the National Plastics Plan and support Australians to buy locally recycled products.

 

Cardboard recycling

Innovative technologies

Australia’s transformation into a circular economy demands new technologies and expertise. To grow their businesses, local firms are looking for co-funding and collaborations. That means a wealth of opportunities for companies that can offer innovative waste management solutions, information systems and products.

Australian companies are transforming commercial and household waste into furniture, decking, fencing, road and rail infrastructure and much more. 

The Australian Government is increasing its purchase of products with recycled content to generate demand for recycled materials.

View transcript (1.55 KB)

Incentives, grants and support

  • The A$15 billion National Reconstruction Fund will drive investment in key sectors focusing on value adding and capability development to leverage Australia’s natural and competitive strengths, supporting new and emerging industries including recycling and clean energy. Keep up to date with new funding measures and incentives as they are announced through the Department of Industry website.
  • The A$250 million Recycling Modernisation Fund is transforming Australia’s waste and recycling industries to help them meet demand to process waste that was previously exported.
  • The A$26 million National Product Stewardship Investment Fund will increase the number of industry-led product stewardship schemes in Australia and increase the recycling rates of existing schemes.
  • The A$100 million Australian Recycling Investment Fund is supporting large-scale projects that use clean energy technologies in recycling waste plastics, paper, glass and tyres.
  • The Australian Tax Office’s New Investment Engagement Service gives tailored guidance on tax issues to businesses planning significant new investments in Australia.

 

Recycling and clean energy - woman

Case studies

 

Are you a talented individual working towards a circular economy?

Get an idea of the kinds of skills and roles we’re looking for

To support our ambitions to drive the evolution to a circular economy, we’re looking for new technology innovators and talented individuals with the right expertise to make it happen.

The following specialisations are intended to be used as a guide and are not an exhaustive list. The global talent profile provides examples of the calibre of individuals who may meet program requirements. 

Specialisations

  • Artificial intelligence and digital technologies.
  • Bioenergy generation
  • Bio-methane production
  • Commercialisation experience within the industry
  • Development of sustainable production and supply chain practices that reduce atmospheric land and marine pollution
  • Energy infrastructure
  • Environmental science
  • Recycling and responsible manufacturing to support industries (plastics, paper, glass, tyre components, e-waste and lithium batteries) 
  • Reducing emissions and increasing efficient use of natural resources (including energy, water and materials)
  • Sustainable manufacturing and life-cycle engineering specialists
  • Waste treatment (management and reuse) and emissions technology
  • Waste to Energy (WtE) technology (the ability to generate reliable baseload electricity that is also capable of diverting waste away from landfill and reducing carbon emissions)

Global talent profile

Senior well engineering manager responsible for managing multiple advanced carbon capture usage and storage projects.

Post-doctoral researcher with well cited high impact publications in the fields of metallurgy, circular economy, critical metals and solar photovoltaic end of life issues.

The following experience or professions would not usually meet the parameters of the program:

  • Engineers and mechanics who do not lead international projects 
  • Sales or purchasing representatives

Factsheet

Circular Economy Factsheet

Professor Veena Sahajwalla
It is a real privilege to live, work and have a family in Australia, and for me, my passion for science and technology continues to grow as we strive to help solve some of our global and local challenges. It is also vitally important to continue to encourage people to join us in solving for these challenges.

It is crucial for science, industry and the community to collaboratively work together on societal solutions, such as the microrecycling science and new technologies I and my team at the Sustainable Materials Research and Technology Centre at the University of New South Wales (SMaRT@UNSW) are pioneering. Science, engineering and many technical skills are going play such a vital role in developing solutions.

Without these skills, we will not be able to enjoy some of the things we now take for granted, especially in these times of COVID-19. Recovering critical and valuable materials from waste must play a role in helping to electrify the world as we move towards renewable energies, reducing our carbon footprint, and being truly more sustainable. Collaborating with industry, researchers and the community to tackle these challenges will deliver better social, environmental and economic outcomes.
Professor Veena Sahajwalla, Director
UNSW SMaRT Centre (Sustainable Materials Research & Technology)

Australia’s circular economy ecosystems

Success stories

The 204MW Edenvale Solar Park in Queensland
photo of jean_renaud_humblot
Photo of Lucia Cuneo at the Harvard Business School campus
photo of Belen Aguirre
Photo of Mohammad Assefi

Express interest: As an individual As a business