An Indian origin Australian scientist Professor Veena Sahajwalla, has recently launched the world's first microfactory that can transform electronic waste into material that can be reused. The microfactory is built considering e-waste like smartphones and laptops that generate a high amount of waste such as the computer circuit boards; also converting alloys like copper and tin, along with glass and plastic can be converted into ceramics and plastic filaments for 3D printing.
According to Professor Veena Sahajwalla, "Using our green manufacturing technologies, these microfactories can transform waste where it is stockpiled and created, enabling local businesses and communities to not only tackle local waste problems but to develop a commercial opportunity from the valuable materials that are created". She also added that the e-waste microfactory and another under development for other consumer waste types offer a cost-effective solution to one of the greatest environmental challenges of our age, while delivering new job opportunities to our cities but importantly to our rural and regional areas, too.
The microfactory, since it was set up, has been successful in attracting Indian students to its Sydney campus. The scientific research centre, SMaRT, uses technology to reduce electronic waste and stops it from going to landfills.
A material scientist from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) and Director of the Centre for Sustainable Materials Research and Technology (SMaRT) at the university, Veena is an alumni of IIT Kanpur from the metallurgical department. Her work in the field of sustainable development won her the distinguished alumnus award, along with the Eureka Prize (2005), and Pravasi Bhartiya Samman for outstanding achievement in science (2011). Recently, Veena was one of the three women who were named on the 2015 AFR-Westpac 100 Women of Influence list for their respective contributions, joining 400 of Australia’s most inspiring women list.