Globally, nearly 8 billion metric tons of plastic have been produced since 1950. Concerningly, 50% of this plastic was produced in the last 13 years and only ~9% has been recycled. The global and local efforts being taken to address this issue are both urgent and multi-dimensional, with biodegradable plastics set to play an increasingly important role, driven by strategies like the “European Green Deal” (2019).
The market for bioplastics and biocomposites is projected to substantially increase over the next decade to meet global demand. Industrial scale production of these biomaterials relies on abundant availability of biomass. Australia’s existing forestry, sugar and wheat industries are ideally placed to supply bioresources for bioplastics and biocomposites, without impact on food production or competing for arable land. The expansion of bioplastics and biocomposites manufacturing in Australia will directly benefit existing wood, sugar and wheat producers, as well as generating significant economic and employment benefits for Australia.
Key outcomes from this Centre will be knowledge and technology to grow the bioplastic and biocomposites industry in Australia.