Technology to transform local manufacturing and waste coming to NSW

Professor Veena Sahajwalla. Photo credit: Anna Kucera

Workshops are being held in New South Wales on February 27-28 to enhance local manufacturing capability, reduce waste and build better economies and communities.

UNSW professor Veena Sahajwalla will be at the events in Dubbo and Orange to showcase scientifically developed technology at UNSW Sydney that enables waste items such as glass and clothing to be reformed into building products and converts electronic waste such as phones into valuable metals alloys and plastic filament.

“Dubbo and Orange as regional centres are vibrant with population growth each year for many years and this, along with the desire to be at the forefront of resource recycling, makes them well suited to take a leadership role,” she said.

“Recycling is not just about getting rid of plastic bags or bottles.

“We need to rethink attitudes to all of the materials we discard and start to see them as resources, renewable resources, if we want to reduce mining of finite resources and extraction impacts.

“These impacts come at a cost in terms of economic, environmental and social challenges. Rather, we need to start to unlock the value embedded in these discarded waste resources, which can bring new revenue sources into our economies, rather than burying our used materials after a single use. Microrecycling can achieve all this by creating ongoing value from waste products,” said Sahajwalla.

She will be joining Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre (AMGC)-organised workshops hosted by AMGC NSW director Michael Sharpe, and a range of other experts including from the CSIRO to help lift regional manufacturing capability to enhance both economic and social outcomes.

Sharpe said manufacturing is still a vibrant, growing industry and the best manufacturers are still in the game.

“However, just under half of local manufacturers are innovating and transforming. To resist tough globalised competition, we need to look at upgrading factory equipment with high-tech machines and developing the best customer experiences from products and services.

“Manufacturers need to accept changes and be ever-vigilant to stay at the front of the pack. That is why we are doing these workshops in conjunction with the Industry Capability Network and other industry experts; to present options for local businesses to be more sustainable through the 2020s, how to integrate new technologies into manufacturing and enhance operations and deliver greater customer value,” said Sharpe.