Australia’s circular economy opportunity

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Australia's comparative and competitive advantages in transitioning to a circular economy are set out in a report commissioned by the Office of the Chief Scientist and prepared by the CSIRO. 

The report Australia’s comparative and competitive advantages in transitioning to a circular economy was commissioned through the National Science and Technology Council. 

Key findings:

  • Establishing a circular economy is both an economic opportunity and an environmental need. A circular economy has 3 key goals:
    • eliminating waste
    • repeated use of materials and products
    • conserving natural resources.
  • In 2022, the world extracted more than 100 billion tonnes of biomass, fossil fuels, metal ores and non-metallic minerals, 3 times the amount of 50 years ago. One-third of all extracted material is discarded within a year.
  • Reversing this loss of natural capital and economic value could unlock enormous value, and make a significant difference to climate change impacts. 
  • Leveraging Australia’s strengths, while closing the identified gaps, would push Australia towards a more circular, resilient and sustainable economy.
  • The five industries with the most potential for Australia to build globally competitive products or services in a more circular global economy are:
    • mining
    • construction
    • manufacturing
    • agriculture
    • resource recovery.

This is due to their significant amounts of raw materials or products that can be reused or recycled, as well as the potential for reducing negative environmental impacts.

Download the report:

Read a summary:

Read a statement by Australia's Chief Scientist: