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Accolade for Australian recycling expert

Recycling innovator Professor Veena Sahajwalla has been awarded the prestigious 2022 NSW Australian of the Year title for her work as an internationally recognised materials scientist, engineer and inventor.

Sahajwalla, who is also a contributor to Recycling International, is said to have revolutionised recycling science and advocated for STEM across the globe. One of her important accomplishments includes founding the Centre for Sustainable Materials Research and Technology (SMaRT) at the University of NSW in Sydney.

Sahajwalla also heads the new ARC Micro-recycling Research Hub and the Australian Government’s new Sustainable Communities and Waste Hub. Her work earned the professor the #20 position on our annual Top 100.

An important accomplishment of hers includes founding the Centre for Sustainable Materials Research and Technology (SMaRT) at the University of NSW in Sydney. Sahajwalla also heads the new ARC Micro-recycling Research Hub and the Australian Government’s new National Environmental Science Program Sustainable  Communities and Waste Hub.

‘This means so much to me and is a reflection on the wonderful people I’ve had around me. I am so passionate about my work and team at the UNSW SMaRT Centre, where we have been pioneering the science of micro-recycling and developing new ‘waste-to-product’ technologies,’ the professor said. ‘Promoting science, technology, engineering and maths and greater sustainability continue to be extremely important to me.’

UNSW president Professor Ian Jacobs commented: ‘Veena’s work in using waste as a resource to help us achieve a sustainable future reflects the university’s service to society, our quest to find practical solutions and the academic rigour that underpins great advances – knowledge by heart, hand and mind.’

New South Wales premier Dominic Perrottet presented the award during a formal ceremony on 15 November.

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