New council MICROfactorie to be built

The UNSW SMaRT Centre and Shoalhaven City Council have been awarded government grant funding of $500,000 to enter into a partnership to establish a Green Ceramics MICROfactorieTM  at West Nowra.

The Shoalhaven Council is aiming to demonstrate, and pilot, cutting edge circular economy solutions and engage its community to inspire sustainable practices. 

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 MICROfactorieTM built at Council's West Nowra Recycling and Waste Depot.  Waste materials such as plastic, glass and textiles will be processed to produce a range of 'Green Ceramic'

Additionally sorted and cleaned waste plastics will be processed into products such as filaments for 3D printing.  

Green Ceramics are a new generation of engineered, value-added product 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 (i.e. spoiled) or made from mixed waste materials, rendering them difficult to traditionally recycle. 

Shoalhaven City Council Mayor Amanda Findley said: “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”. 

“With the addition of the Green Ceremics MircofactorieTM, 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”, Clr Findley said.  

SMaRT Centre Director, Professor Veena Sahajwalla said: "We are very excited to be partnering with Shoalhaven City Council to help them achieve greater sustainability in waste resource management, and thank the Commonwealth for funding this joint initiative."

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

The grant funds come from the first round of Stream 1, Round 1 funding under Remanufacture NSW, which is jointly funded by the Australian Government’s Recycling Modernisation Fund and the NSW Government’s Waste Less, Recycle More initiative. The grant program is delivered by the NSW Environmental Trust in partnership with the NSW EPA.  

Image: 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. 

This project is funded by the Australian Government's Recycling Modernisation Fund and the NSW Government's Waste Less, Recycle More initiative.

Shoalhaven Council announcement

NSW Remanufacture / EPA announcement

Sussan Ley MP, Minister for the Environment, announcement

Matthew Keen, MP, NSW Minister for Energy and Environment announcement

Read more about our Green Ceramics initiatives