Australia, News, Waste & Resource Recovery

Engineers aim to turn Australia’s rubbish into a resource

Leading engineers have predicted that, with the help of sustainable engineering, Australia’s rubbish will be transformed into a key resource and generate new industries. This was highlighted on March 3, when the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE) celebrated UNESCO’s World Engineering Day by bringing together expertise from industry, universities, and the public sector to build the keys to turning waste streams into income streams.

“Australia generates around 67 million tonnes of waste per year – but with the rapid evolution of technology and sustainable engineering practices we can, and should be able to, turn this into a major resource,” ATSE CEO Kylie Walker said.

“At this inaugural World Engineering Day for Sustainable Development, the Academy of Technology and Engineering has led a critical and timely major national initiative to pave the way for the digital revolution to supercharge Australia’s new circular economy.

“With technology and systems approaches that already exist, we can create nine or 10 jobs for every 10,000 tonnes of repurposed rubbish. Imagine how we could build on this growth as we start to create products designed for multiple iterations, create smart waste management systems, and invent advanced recovery technology, she added.”

Waste is one of three major focus areas for ATSE’s major investigation and preparation for Australia’s technology future, alongside health and transport. The investigation, supported by the Australian Research Council, will provide a blueprint for government, business and academic investment in technology and research to support waste management planning to 2030.

“We’re looking at how Australia can prepare the infrastructure and skills, as well as the social, policy and regulatory frameworks needed to move as close to a zero-waste economy as it’s possible to be,” Walker said.

“As we celebrate World Engineering Day, we’re proud that this work supports a range of Sustainable Development Goals including responsible consumption, sustainable communities, innovation and infrastructure, and decent options for employment and economic growth.

“We’re also proud to be the Academy for engineers – whose work supports the safe growth and development of the essential infrastructure that underpins modern life, whether it’s energy and digital networks, waste management, water supply, or transport and freight infrastructure.”