Research Theme 4

Effecting Change and Sustainability Assessment

Theme leader: Professor Helen Ross

Alignment with Partner Organisations: Qld Govt, APCO, Plantic, Kimberly-Clark

To address plastic pollution concerns, as well as reduce the use of extractive resources, a sustainable plastics economy requires a shift towards circular models that prioritise significant, absolute reductions in overall use of plastic, and support reusability and recyclability. Bioplastics may offer environmental advantages over their fossil-based counterparts, but it depends on the specific feedstock used in their production, method of production, product lifetime, and end-of-life treatment. Further, it is actually not clear how biodegradable bioplastics and biocomposites actually are. This knowledge is critical in order to understand their long-term function and potential end-of-life environmental impact. This research theme will focus on changing our waste disposal and recycling culture by improving sustainability, technoeconomic and life cycle assessments and developing strategies for addressing social and policy barriers to change.