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| be Waste Wise | March 28, 2020

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From the Microfactory to the Circular Economy

From the Microfactory to the Circular Economy
February 21, 2020 @ 8:00 am – 9:00 am UTC Timezone

Click here to register for this panel.

Following China’s effective ban on importing many waste materials for recycling, many developed nations, including Australia, are being forced to rethink their waste strategies to encourage more effective waste separation and recycling regimes, a dramatic change that has challenged the ability of the resource sector to upskill rapidly and in ways that few are prepared for. Veena Sahajwalla has pioneered and championed localized waste processing and recycling in high-tech microfactories as an essential first step to the circular economy. Capable of processing even toxic materials within a small space using specialised machines, these have the potential to renew the value of materials that are presently lost within our more traditional and centralized waste processing systems. In this conversation Veena outlines her vision for the microfactory and its potential role in furthering a genuinely circular economy.


Veena Sahajwalla, Founding Director, Centre for Sustainable Materials Research and Technology (SMaRT)

Australian Research Council (ARC) Laureate Professor Veena Sahajwalla is an internationally recognised materials scientist, engineer and inventor revolutionising recycling science. She is renowned for pioneering the high temperature transformation of waste in the production of a new generation of ‘green materials.’ In 2018 Veena launched the world’s first e-waste microfactory and in 2019 she launched her plastics microfactory, a recycling technology breakthrough. As the founding Director of the Centre for Sustainable Materials Research and Technology (SMaRT) at the University of New South Wales, Sydney, she is producing a new generation of green materials and products made entirely, or primarily, from waste. Veena also heads the ARC Industrial Transformation Research Hub for ‘green manufacturing’, a leading national research centre that works in collaboration with industry to ensure new recycling science is translated into real world environmental and economic benefits.


Robert Crocker, Deputy Director, China Australia Centre for Sustainable Development

Robert Crocker (moderator) is Deputy Director of the China Australia Centre for Sustainable Development, a partnership with Tianjin University, where he is also a guest researcher. His research focuses on the relationship between consumption, waste and design for sustainability. He recently published two collections of essays, the first on the circular economy, Unmaking Waste (EmeraldInsight, 2018) and the second on reuse, Subverting Consumerism (Routledge, 2018). His book, Somebody Else’s Problem: Consumerism, Sustainability and Design (Greenleaf 2016), won gold in the Axiom Best Business Books awards for 2017, and is planned to be reissued in an expanded second edition in 2020.

Click here to register for this panel.

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