It’s only by working together that we can end plastic waste.

Our program is designed to showcase a range of innovations across research, industry and government. The aim is to learn more about science and technology being applied for real-world impact, and to foster connections and future partnerships. See our full agenda here.

Day One: Tuesday 23 May 2023

Session 1: Opening plenary

Panel session: Collaboration and innovation: working together to address Australia’s plastic waste challenges
Join CSIRO Chief Executive Dr Larry Marshall and other leaders across the plastic waste sector for a panel session to highlight the importance of collaboration and innovation to address the challenges of plastic waste, and pathways to generate solutions. The panel will be discussing how to strengthen relationships between research, industry and government, existing challenges in Australia and the globe, and the importance of accelerating new science and technologies to address plastic waste.

Session 2: Achieving a circular economy for plastic

We need to turn plastic waste into a resource. This session will profile circular solutions for plastic waste. It will cover why reducing and recycling plastic won’t be enough on its own, adopting whole-of-life strategies for polymers and plastic, and case studies for building a circular economy including recyclable paint, pathways for recycling ghost nets and oil pipelines.
Session 2.1: Circular economy – an approach towards reusing plastic
Session 2.2: Plastic recycling – current practices and future prospects
Session 2.3: Biodegradable polymers
Circular Australia along with researchers from CSIRO will discuss circular solutions, from recyclable paint to modular processing options for ghost nets. Hear from Kimberly Clark on the Nappy Loop recycling project; Qenos on advanced recycling; and what’s happening in the National Plastic Recycling Scheme. Biodegradable polymers, the latest science, and addressing the challenges of  bioplastics. 

Session 3: Knowledge and data system initiatives – enabling change

We explore the importance of understanding and developing data collection systems for plastic waste and its application for informing waste policy and decision-making, the role of best practice and standards in guiding regulatory standards and social and behavioural enablers that will help inform social attitude changes and incentives. 
Session 3.1: Social and behavioural enablers to ending plastic waste
Session 3.2: Leveraging standards and best practices to reduce plastic waste
Social and behaviour change are critical for changing our relationship with plastics. We’ll cover social and behavioural enablers to ending plastic waste, which includes survey work on eco-packaging purchasing behaviour and social licencing for advanced recycling. Presentations from Chemistry Australia and Standards Australia about work in the standards space and CSIRO’s Standards Mapping project to identify what standards exist in Australia.  
Session 3.3: Applying knowledge to identify solutions to end plastic waste
Session 3.4: Plastic reduction, reuse and recycling in managed waste – empowering supply chain data
Australia’s plastic litter baseline project, and innovative science and technology for stormwater drains and gross pollutant traps to prevent litter ending up in the ocean. Information on dataflows, and supply chain analytics to keep data private.  


Session 4: Posters

Hear from from those working at our universities and institutes – on the latest research projects to revolutionise plastic materials, design and processes. In this exciting session, participants will be pitching their ideas on solutions for plastic waste, supported by a poster session to understand the latest R&D projects.
Materials and processes
Knowledge and data
Global initiatives
Posters will include: Plastic packaging – ways to reduce single use plastic impacts by design, materials, and logistics and waste innovation – transforming circular economy principles into practice.  Posters will include: Information for decision making – understanding and developing data collection systems and visualisation for use – managed and mismanaged waste streams and. social and behavioural enablers – understanding and informing attitudinal change and incentives for plastic use.  Posters will include: national and international opportunities for collaboration, technology piloting and information exchange. 

Formal Symposium Dinner

Join us for a hosted dinner at Rydges World Square, where we can maximise our connections, share ideas and build our networks.

Day two: Wednesday 24 May 2023

Session 5: Industry pathways for managing plastic waste

Hear from industry experts who know the issues of dealing with plastic waste first-hand. Join CEO of the Australian Council of Recycling (ACOR) Suzanne Toumbourou who will chair a panel made up of Colin Barker from the Australian Industrial Ecology Network (AIEN); Bonnie Marshall from the National Retail Association (NRA); Peter Bury from Chemistry Australia and Ricki Hersburgh from Plastic Oceans Australasia, Richard Kirkman from the Veolia Group.


Session 6: The future of plastics innovation in the Indo-Pacific

Plastic pollution knows no borders. We all have a role to play in ending plastic waste. Learn more about global initiatives and how science diplomacy is making a difference in the Indo-Pacific. This session will cover the Indo-Pacific Plastics Innovation Network with Plastic Innovation Hubs being established in Indonesia, Vietnam and Thailand. The hubs are bringing together researchers, start-ups, industry and investors to accelerate deep-tech solutions to reduce plastic waste in the region. You’ll also hear more about how global plastic pollution surveys can capture the extent of the problem and inform localised intervention methods.


Session 7: Continuing our collaborative journey – next steps on the path to Ending Plastic Waste 

This final interactive session will allow participants to choose one of four themes emerging from the symposium.  Participants in each theme room will have a chance to explore how to progress further thinking and collaboration.

Capturing the key thoughts using collaborative technology, a final plenary will be shared from each theme in the main room.

Session 8: Symposium wrap up

We will capture what we have learned, and where we can direct attention to continue the fight against plastic waste.

 Symposium End