The 'new plastics economy' refers to a shift from a linear value chain to a circular, sustainable, materials system.

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation value the circular economy at $2.7 trillion p.a. over the next decade, and new circular polymers and plastics will form a major part of this new economy.

However, according to recent research by the World Economic Forum, a staggering 32% of plastic packaging escapes collection systems, generating significant economic costs by polluting vital natural systems, such as the oceans, stifling their richness and productivity, and by clogging waste infrastructure.

The new plastics economy will embody technological, political and social change. This will involve, but is not be limited to:

  • new waste collection systems
  • improved mechanical, chemical and thermal recycling of plastics
  • new polymer product designs that aid collection and recycling
  • new biobased and biodegradable polymer materials
  • government incentives and legislation
  • changing social attitudes to how we use plastics and to how we value waste

diagram showing global use of plastics


Get in touch

For more opportunities please contact:

Associate Professor Bronwyn Laycock