Microfactory TechnologiesTM: The Science of “Microrecycling”: Selective Synthesis of Materials from Waste

CSIRO Cutting Edge Science and Engineering Symposium, 2019 • Clayton, Victoria Australia


Veena Sahajwalla

Director of Sustainable Materials Research&Technology at UNSW AU

Talk summary

In conventional recycling, we convert like for like, using glass or plastics to make more of the same. Today’s waste stream presents a different challenge: its complex and cannot simply separated and feed into a giant processing machine and converted backinto their original form. A significant proportion of problematic e-waste is also landfilledand stockpiled. In this situation, how can we make sense of this complexity? “Microrecycling” based technology could be set up almost anywhere in the world via microfactory. This science and technology can potentially protect the environment from the undesirable impacts of landfilling toxic waste streams, reducing burdens on natural resources and enabling manufacturer’s access to secondary resources that would otherwise be sourced from more and more expensive raw materials. “Micorecycling” could transform waste into value-added materials at a local level and contribute to global supply chains. They could form pathways for micro-economies, based on materials production in green microfactories, to develop and generate jobs of the future. They will create local economic opportunities by allowing multiple small-scale operators to generate value-added resources, by reforming waste. This offers new solutions for transformation of waste materials into value, reducing waste pollution, and ultimately eliminating negative social consequences of waste in many disadvantaged communities globally.

About this talk




On May 27th, 2019


CSIRO Cutting Edge Science and Engineering Symposium, 2019 (go to website)


Clayton, Victoria Australia

Audience size

In front of 45 people