From rubbish to raw materials – Livestream

Nine million old car tyres are piled in Australia’s biggest tyre dump, in Stawell, Victoria – just one of many such tyre piles around the world. But when she looks at these massive waste repositories, Professor Veena Shajwalla doesn’t see landfill: she sees elements. Raw materials that can be transformed into structural steel to build green buildings.

Professor Sahajwalla’s team treats as raw materials the stuff the rest of us throw away, inviting us to reimagine the concept of ‘rubbish’ through green manufacturing. Already, their technology has transformed two million passenger vehicle tyres into structural steel, and after recently being commercialised internationally the technology is ready to boom. And it’s not just tyres that can be repurposed in this way.

Join us as Professor Sahajwalla reveals how science is giving old plastic bottles, cars, bikes and computers can new life and purpose, boosting Australia’s manufacturing sector, supporting local councils and reaping incredible benefits for the environment.

About the speaker

Scientia Professor Veena Sahajwalla is Founding Director of the Centre for Sustainable Materials Research & Technology (SMaRT), Associate Dean (Strategic Industry Relations) in the Faculty of Science at the University of New South Wales, and an Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow.

Respected as an internationally award-winning scientist and engineer, Professor Sahajwalla’s research focuses on the sustainability of materials and processes with an emphasis on environmental and community benefits. One of her most celebrated achievements is the invention of a process of recycling plastics and rubber tyres in steelmaking, now known around the world as green steel.

© 2016 Australian Academy of Science