Plastics – a new approach

11 December 2019

“Rethinking Plastics in Aotearoa New Zealand”, a new report from the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor, recommends ways to reduce the burden of plastics waste.

Scion contributed to the report with Dr Elspeth MacRae, Chief Innovation and Science Officer, on the Rethinking Plastics panel and Dr Florian Graichen, Science Leader, Biopolymers and Chemicals, in the reference group.

“The report is a call to invest in our own future”, says Elspeth. “We can be leading edge in adoption of new biobased and/or recycling standards and manufacturing with new biomaterials to replace today’s petroleum plastics. We can increase our focus, gather real data and be ready to prove our sustainable solutions to the world.”

Florian says no single solution will resolve the waste issue, but the challenge comes with opportunities for shaping a more sustainable future and rethinking plastics.

“The ‘6Rs’ of the new plastics economy – replace, rethink, recycle, refuse, reduce and reuse - are guiding the much-needed innovations for our relationship with plastics. This can lead to new product designs, manufacturing technologies, new biomaterials, new recycling techniques and new business models. New Zealand’s research activities in this area are cutting edge and very encouraging.”

The report was launched on 8 December 2019, along with an accompanying documentary “Science and the Plastic Problem”. The documentary brings the plastics challenge to life and presents science solutions described by Elspeth and Florian.

Both the report and documentary are available on the PMCSA page Rethinking Plastics in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Go to Plastics - a circular economy approach for information about Scion’s work in this area.

Watch the video: Science and the plastics problem