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Circular economy

Australia is serious about reducing our waste and putting it to work.

We’re determined to exceed our national target recycling 80% of our waste by 2030. To do this we are:

  • banning the export of unprocessed glass, plastic, tyres, paper and cardboard in a world first
  • investing more than A$1 billion to turbocharge our waste and recycling industries
  • supporting industry-led recycling schemes through the A$20 million National Product Stewardship Investment Fund
  • halving our food waste by 2030.

Australia is committed to reprocessing an additional 645,000 tonnes of waste plastic, paper, glass and tyres each year. 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 – all underpinned by the transition 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.

$12.6b

Australia’s waste sector valued at A$12.6 billion per year

$3.9b

Sales of recovered materials valued at A$3.9 billion per year

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 supported by the $A190 million Recycling Modernisation Fund that will generate A$600 million of recycling investment and drive a billion-dollar transformation of Australia’s waste and recycling capacity.

 

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.

‘This is a once in a generation opportunity to remodel waste management, reduce pressure on our environment and create economic opportunity’ – Environment Minister Sussan Ley.

Australian companies are turning plastics and household waste into furniture, decking, fencing and clothing, and we are developing new domestic markets for recycled materials by setting national standards for recycled content in roads and making recycled products a focus of procurement for infrastructure, defence estate management and general government purchasing.

 

Recycling and clean energy - woman

Incentives, grants and support

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

Australia’s circular economy ecosystems