The Parkes Special Activation Precinct is destined to become an eco-industrial park as an Australian first in a collaboration with Australia’s national science agency.
The Plastics Mission of the CSIRO is a major research program using science and technology to address Australia’s plastics waste issue while at the same time supporting the Regional Growth NSW Development Corporation on a program of long-term engagement in the NSW Special Activation Precincts in Parkes, Wagga Wagga, Moree, Snowy Mountains and Williamtown.
Regional Growth NSW Development Corporation, responsible for delivering the Parkes precinct, has signed a five-year memorandum of understanding with CSIRO to collaborate on the development of missions which bring government, industry and research together around large scale research initiatives.
“This includes the mission to end plastic waste by reinventing the way plastic is made, processed and recycled,” CEO Brendan Nelson told The Parkes Phoenix.
“The dedicated resource recovery and re-cycling sub-precinct identified in the Parkes master plan will capitalise on Parkes’ location to receive and re-process waste and resources, championing circular economy principles as part of an Australian-first eco-industrial park.”
Brendan said the Parkes Special Activation Precinct would play a central role in responding to Australia’s long-term recycling programs. “Parkes is located at the junction of the Australian rail network and the Newell Highway and can access 80% of the Australian population within 12 hours. The Parkes precinct is in early construction stage and specific developments will be submitted for approval by the corporation as delivery progresses.”
The 4,800ha Parkes Special Activation Precinct supports circular economy principles and sustainability. The CSIRO said in a statement that its collaboration with the NSW Government, as well as NSW universities and industry in these Precincts would assist to accelerate NSW economic recovery by creating future industries and highly skilled jobs.
Each year, 90 billion tonnes of primary materials are extracted and used globally for plastics. Only nine per cent is recycled, with economic, social, environmental and health impacts. Australia generates an estimated 67 million tonnes of waste every year.
“Rethinking plastic packaging is just one way of reducing waste, through better de-sign, materials and logistics. We can also transform the way we use, manufacture and recycle plastics by creating new products and more value for plastics,” said CSIRO Senior Principal Research Scientist Dr Denise Hardesty.
New solutions under development include plastics detection using artificial intelligence, implementing and optimising waste monitoring systems, and establishing recy- cling standards and best practices to reduce contamination.
“With a pending export ban for Australian waste, the time is now to address the plastic waste problem,” said Director Strategy Energy and Research for Chemistry Australia Peter Bury.
“Leading science will help establish standards to ensure product security and inform decision-making.
“Leveraging the capability of industry for plastic products at their end of life will also generate new types of products and design, and help build new industries and jobs across a range of sectors.”