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Media Release


23 January 2024

Recycling pioneer headed to Parramatta for Australia Day

Professor Sahajwalla in front of machinery


One of the world’s most recognised and innovative materials scientists and an engineer and inventor has been announced as this year’s City of Parramatta Australia Day Ambassador.

2022 NSW Australian of the Year and UNSW Scientia Professor Veena Sahajwalla, is a highly awarded researcher at the forefront of recycling science, who launched the world’s first e-waste microfactory. The professor’s work has led to the development of green ceramic tiles and green steel, made from recycled glass, textiles and steel.

Professor Sahajwalla has been invited to address the City of Parramatta’s Citizen of the Year awards on 25 January and as a guest on 26 January.

She said she’s excited to visit Parramatta and celebrate with locals.

“It’s such an honour to be an Australia Day Ambassador for Parramatta,” Professor Sahajwalla said.

“It’s also a privilege to share my story around science and engineering and how our UNSW SMaRT Centre MICROfactorieTM Technologies are helping to tackle our waste and recycling challenges.”

Already the City has benefitted from these revolutionary green materials, with Mirvac’s Pavilions apartment building in Sydney Olympic Park leading the pack with green ceramic tiles used for flooring and wall tiles.

Professor Sahajwalla said coming together to contribute to your local community is a big part of being an Australian.

“As the recipient of the 2022 NSW Australian of the Year award, I know how special it feels when it comes to acknowledging the remarkable achievements of all Australians and what we can do when we work together,” Professor Sahajwalla said.

“Parramatta is home to many young people from across the globe, many of them studying a wide range of fields, and this diversity provides the perfect environment for the next generation of innovators and inventors.

“I encourage everyone here to take advantage of the fantastic opportunities the City has to offer and follow their dreams to create a better world.”

City of Parramatta Lord Mayor Cr Pierre Esber said the City is honoured to have Professor Sahajwalla as its Australia Day Ambassador.

“Parramatta is a City that is proud of its green credentials and achievements – whether that is Parramatta Square’s carbon neutral status or the City’s Tree Champions program,” Cr Esber said.

“It’s an honour and privilege to welcome this year’s Australia Day Ambassador Professor Veena Sahajwala and we hope our celebrations leave a positive lasting impression.”


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