New life of old telephones

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Globally, we produce 2.22 billion  tons of waste annually, most of which ends up in landfills or open landfills. At the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Veena Sahajwalla, a scientist and materials engineer, developed one of the solutions to the problem of the amount of waste: micro-processing plants (micro-factories). In small waste processing plants, some with an area of ​​only 50 square meters, a series of machines are set up that recycle waste and process it into new materials using thermal technology. A new one-stop-shop approach could update our current recycling processes. In 2018, the first waste micro-factory dedicated to e-waste was launched in Sydney. The second began recycling plastics in 2019. Now the lab team is working with university and industry partners to commercialize its patented Microfactorie technology. The small scale of the machines will make it easier for them to use renewable energy sources, unlike most large manufacturing plants. The approach will also allow cities to recycle waste into new products on site, avoiding long, often international shipments between recyclers and high-emission production plants. With micro factories, there is no longer a need for separate rooms for collecting and storing materials, extracting items and producing new products. Traditionally, recycling plants decompose materials for reuse in similar products – for example, melting plastic to make more plastic things. In micro-factories, they create new products from the materials of old products. They can extract silicon dioxide (from glass) and carbon (plastic cases) form old smartphones and computer monitorsand and then combine them into silicon carbide nanowires. This creates a common ceramic material with many industrial uses. This process is referred to as 4. R, Reform, an addition to the familiar phrase Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. They want to expand the concept of micro waste factories across Australia over the next few years.

Source: DisocverMagazine

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