A joint collaboration between Corrs Chambers Westgarth and The University of Queensland.

Plastics have become a core component of the functioning of modern society. They are perhaps most well known for their use in packaging, but they are also used in building materials, furniture, toys, medical devices and many other products. The increased demand for and use of plastics has resulted in extensive plastic waste throughout the world, which has been described as one of the most pressing environmental issues of our time.

There are many facets to the problem of plastics, including that fossil fuels are typically used in the manufacture of these materials, the enormous amounts of plastic pollution existing globally, and the very low plastic recycling rate in Australia. Biodegradable plastics present a potential solution to some of the issues relating to plastics, although there are a number of challenges that mean that the scope and role of biodegradable plastics in an increasingly circular economy is not straight forward.