Read the latest news from the Centre for Sustainable Materials Research and Technology
The UNSW SMaRT Centre worked with its green ceramics MICROfactorieTM commercial partner to design and develop tiles for the Sydney Olympic Park Aquatic Centre made from old street banners.
Old but colourful unwanted street banners used at Sydney Olympic Park (SOP) were reformed into beautiful ceramic tiles as the centrepiece feature of four new male and female change rooms at the Aquatic Centre.
The green ceramics were created by SMaRT partner Kandui Technologies in collaboration with SMaRT and SOP in colours inspired by the Sydney 2000 Olympic and Paralympic Games volunteer uniforms.
Beautiful waste: Every year, Sydney Olympic Park Authority displays 800-1000 street banners; these banners are made of polyester, a synthetic material derived from oil, and contain significant embodied energy – energy consumed in the extraction of raw materials, manufacture of the product, transport and distribution. While the Authority recycles street banners at the end of their 6-month lifespan, they are traditionally sent to landfill at end of life.
Waste no more: Sydney Olympic Park Authority recognises ‘waste’ can be a resource, and is committed to the transition to a circular economy – an economy that keeps resources in use through reuse, repair or remanufacture into value-added products, creating more skilled jobs and economic opportunities while reducing environmental impacts associated with acquiring virgin materials. The ‘’green ceramic’’ tiles is a demonstration of circular economy in practice.
Partners in saving waste: The green ceramic tiles were developed by Professor Veena Sahajwalla, NSW Australian of the Year 2022, and her team at the UNSW Centre for Sustainable Materials Research and Technology (SMaRT Centre); they were made in the first commercial Green Ceramics MICROfactorieTM operated by Kandui Technologies in Cootamundra, NSW. The innovative manufacturing module transforms problematic waste materials, including plastics, synthetic textiles and unrecyclable glass such as windscreen and tinted windows, into tiles and other residential building materials that will last for many years.
With over 22 million tonnes of waste going to landfill every year nationally, Sydney Olympic Park Authority is proud to collaborate with Professor Sahajwalla and the SMaRT Centre to divert valuable resources from landfill and advance circular economy in NSW.