Research & policy

Waste and resource recovery report

In 2020, the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering is examining Australia’s potential to create a circular economy, or an economic system aimed at eliminating waste and the continual use of resources.

The investigation is part of a major three-year research project examining the technology readiness of Australian industry sectors.

ATSE’s project is providing insights into Australia’s ability to capitalise on opportunities emerging in the digital economy. Future industries will rely on technology like artificial intelligence, robotics, augmented reality, automation, big data analytics and user interfaces, and we are asking the question: Are we ready?

Australia faces a critical challenge in the future management of our waste. New forms of waste are set to increase, including e-waste, solar PV panels, and batteries. Advanced technologies and engineering solutions have the potential to divert valuable resources from landfill.

Recycling, re-use, remanufacturing and refurbishment of products can create a closed system, minimising waste.

Economic benefits of a waste management industry include job creation (for every 10,000 tonnes of waste recycled, 9.2 jobs are created) and it has been estimated a recycling plant could bring up to $166 million in net gain to Victoria alone over the coming decade.

This project will deliver an objective, evidence-based, expert assessment of Australia’s readiness to develop a leading-edge waste and resource recovery sector based on innovation and technology by 2030, along with targeted policy and research recommendations to support this transformation.

If you would like to find out more about this project, listen to Fellows discussing the issues in the podcasts below, or contact us at