CSIRO sets sights on ending plastic waste in new missions program

The CSIRO will end plastic waste by reinventing the way plastic is made, processed, and recycled as part of a new “missions-led” collaborative research strategy.

The national science agency says it will direct $100 million towards shared research programs – including ending plastic waste and mitigating the impact of natural disasters – to bolster Australia’s Covid-19 recovery and build long-term resilience.

CSIRO chief executive Dr Larry Marshall said the collaboration and goodwill stimulated by the response to Covid-19 can be harnessed and used to accelerate recovery, create new jobs, and stimulate the economy.

“While Covid-19 will undoubtedly continue to disrupt, Australia will come together through this crisis and build a strong future in the process,” Dr Marshall said.

“We are calling for partners to join this Team Australia approach to solving what seem like unsolvable problems.”  

He said that to help achieve this there will be other missions involving “Australia’s brightest minds”  to:

  • Increase resilience and preparedness against pandemics;
  • Create a hydrogen industry to generate a new clean energy export industry;
  • Accelerate the transition to agile manufacturing for higher revenue and sovereign supply;
  • Use technology to navigate Australia’s transition to net zero emissions, without derailing the national economy;
  • Safeguard the health of waterways by monitoring the quality of water resources from space; and
  • Create new industries that transform raw mineral commodities into higher-value products like critical energy metals.

In related news, the Federal Government is providing further research funding of $7.6 million into bushfires and Covid-19.

The Terrestrial Ecosystem Research Network (TERN) will get $1.7 million of this funding to replace ecosystem monitoring equipment damaged by the recent bushfires with more resilient, fire-resistant equipment.

The Australian Urban Research Infrastructure Network (AURIN) will receive $1.65 million to replace old IT  hardware and software.