A commercial-scale version University of NSW’s “microfactory” was launched yesterday, following a United Nations General Assembly address from prime minister Scott Morrison highlighting the need for action on plastics recycling.
According to a release, the UNSW’s Centre for Sustainable Materials Research and Technology (SMaRT) led by Professor Veena Sahajwalla has spent years developing the microfactory. It allows for modular, scaleable production from reclaimed materials.
“Apart from the economic benefits, there are obvious short and long term environmental and social benefits from being able to reform many hard to manage waste streams into new materials and products, and keeping these materials in use for as long as possible,” said Sahajwalla.
Electronics recycling company TES, which is a collaborator with SMaRT, is currently creating “vitakets” to replace coal as a source of carbon in steelmaking, and selling these to Molycop.
The launch on Thursday was attended by federal environment minister Sussan Ley.
Early that morning, prime minister Scott Morrison called for commercially viable, industry-led solutions as an answer to the growing issue of plastic waste.
SMaRT is currently producing 3D printing filament and furniture out of mixed and contaminated plastics.
Picture: Professor Veena Sahajwalla and federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley at the SMaRT Center launch (UNSW)
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