Friday, March 1, 2024

Green Ceramics MICROfactorieTM headed to West Nowra

Shoalhaven City Council has received $500,000 in funding from the Environment Trust to enter into a partnership with University of NSW’s Sustainable Materials & Technology Centre (UNSW SMaRT Centre) to establish a Green Ceramics MICROfactorieTM  at West Nowra.   

The UNSW SMaRT Centre is a leading national research centre that works in collaboration with industry to ensure new recycling science is translated into real-world environmental and economic benefits. Essentially, waste is reformed into value-added materials for re-use and remanufacturing. 

The grant funding will see a processing facility housed at Council’s West Nowra Recycling and Waste Depot.  Waste materials such as plastic, glass and textiles and mattresses will be processed to produce a range of “green ceramics”. Additionally, sorted and cleaned waste plastics will be processed into pellets or 3D printing filament.  

Council says these green ceramics are a new generation of high performance, non-toxic, engineered bio-composites, for use in buildings, as furniture and ceramic tiles and for various architectural and decorative applications. 

“Green ceramic” products are typically made from the types of waste glass and textiles that are either too highly contaminated (ie: spoiled) or made from composite materials, rendering them difficult to recycle. 

“We are adding another R: Reform, to the traditional three Rs of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle, by seeking partners that share our vision that “traditional” is no longer enough. We need to be transforming unavoidable waste into value-added materials,” said Shoalhaven Mayor, Amanda Findley.

“With the addition of the Green Ceremics Mircofactorie TM the Shoalhaven continues to lead the way in using innovative and emerging technologies to reduce the regions’ carbon footprint and repurpose waste materials giving them a second life.”

Council will commence the construction of the Green ceramics MICROfactorieTM  in late 2021 and anticipates the new facility to be completed by mid 2022.

The glass pictured came from the remnants of broken and dirty glass from the materials recovery facility. This material is generally considered too dirty for recyclers. However, Council has developed a washing and crushing and sizing plant that can recycle it into glass sand. 

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