Futures of Waste Keynote: Veena Sahajwalla

Allan Scott Auditorium, Level 2, Hawke building, City West, UniSA, Adelaide
6pm, Thursday 8th September, 2016


Abstract: The role of sustainability and materials in the new innovation economy: Green Materials from Waste Resources

Waste materials are a growing concern for societies all around the world. The traditional method of recycling waste into similar items of a lesser value needs to be re-imagined. Far greater environmental and economic impacts can be achieved by “greening” the industrial processes that deliver the materials, components and products that our mass, global markets demand; thereby potentially reducing the environmental footprint of everything around us.

This can be achieved by rethinking the energy, raw materials, resources and inputs we use in manufacturing. What if we could derive many of the same resources from waste? Instead of viewing waste as a growing global burden, we could consider the significant financial and environmental savings to be had by ‘mining’ the world’s landfills. The world’s waste mountains are packed with useful elements like carbon, hydrogen, silica, titania and metals that we would otherwise source from virgin raw materials. By redirecting waste, as a valuable resource, back into our industrial processes we can transform it in the production of previously unimaginable value-added materials and products, simultaneously delivering both new economic value and environmental benefits.

Professor Sahajwalla’s talk is being co-presented by The Bob Hawke Prime Ministerial Centre and Art, Architecture and Design, UniSA

Followed by:

7.15pm    Exhibition Launch: Futures of Waste: Photographic Perspectives (Speech by Mr. Vaughan Levitzke, PSM, CE of Green Industries SA). Kerry Packer Civic Gallery, UniSA. Wine and finger food provided.


Veena_Sahjwalla_picVeena Sahajwalla is an ARC Laureate Fellow and founding Director of the Sustainable Materials Research & Technology (SMaRT) Centre at the University of New South Wales, Australia. As one of the world’s leading innovators in the field of sustainable materials and an international award-winning scientist and engineer, she is passionate about transforming waste produced by modern society into value added green materials.

Her research in partnership with industry partners, including OneSteel – has resulted in a world-first, patented, environmentally-friendly process called Polymer Injection Technology.

This technology is for recycling end-of-life plastics/rubber in electric arc furnace steelmaking, resulting in the production of ‘Green Steel’. This work is making a contribution towards creating innovative, green manufacturing, science and technology for the building and construction sectors as well as consumer products. Veena’s leadership of the SMaRT Centre is resulting in developing a global change in sustainable materials and the how we value and reduce waste in the future.

Veena’s research has been recognised with national and international awards. In 2016 Veena was announced as one of Australia’s Most Innovative Engineers by Engineers Australia. In 2015 Veena was the Innovation Winner of the Australian Financial Review­–Westpac 100 Women of Influence awards, and was listed as one of Australia’s Top 100 Most Influential Engineers by Engineers Australia. In 2012 she was named Overall Winner of the Australian Innovation Challenge, and was presented with a Banksia Award and the GE Eco Innovation Award for Individual Excellence. While already well-known and highly respected within her own sphere, Veena became one of Australia’s best-known scientists and inventors through her regular appearances as a judge on the long-running ABC TV series The New Inventors.

Veena has delivered keynote and invited speeches at some of the most prestigious research gatherings and conferences across the world and has lectured in Argentina, Canada, China, India, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, South Africa, Sweden, UK and USA. She has also published more than 250 refereed papers in leading journals and conference proceedings in her field.

Veena completed her Master’s degree at the University of British Columbia and her PhD at The University of Michigan. She was elected as a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE) in 2007 and a Fellow of the Institution of Engineers, Australia, in 2005. In 2015 she was selected as an Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Engineers, Australia.