Friendly Friday: Recycling

March 18 is Global Recycling Day and Amanda’s challenge for Friendly Friday is to talk about RECYCLING.

Earlier this week, I’d posted about Green Initiatives in Canada. I heartily support these programs. I shop with reusable bags and reject single use plastics like straws, cutlery and grocery bags. I re-use bottles and boxes and when they’re done, I put them in the blue box for municipal recycling. Organic waste goes into the green box for composting. Electronic waste is sorted … and so on. But realistically, it’s impossible to escape plastics and packaging waste. It’s there in the most fundamental of food products and essentials for living.

It’s disheartening to see the effect of plastics and garbage on the planet. Depressing too, to think that my little effort to reduce-reuse-recycle won’t make a spot of difference in the large-scale scheme of things. Which is why I was very happy to watch this documentary on Australia’s Queen of Waste, Veena Sahajwalla.

Veena is a recycling superstar who’s used her background in materials science to invent industrial solutions for waste reuse. Twenty years ago, she invented a way to extract carbon from old tires to go into the steel making process to replace coke and coal. More recently, she’s pioneered the idea of creating “micro factories” to recycle textiles and glass into ‘green’ ceramics. What’s particularly notable, is how she’s successfully partnered with large companies to bring her research into fruition. For instance, in 2019 she partnered with Mirvac, a property construction giant in Australia to make ceiling tiles, walls and furniture from ‘green’ ceramics.

In this documentary by ABC News, we are introduced to her work. In the video her enthusiasm is infectious and her optimistic perspective is enlightening. “Waste is not a problem to be managed” she said in this article. “It is an opportunity to be explored.”

15 Comments

  1. Veena is inspirational and so good that she is leading the way down under! I hadn’t seen the program so many, many thanks for sharing. If one has knowledge then it can be used for the benefit of mankind rather than only for the purpose of extracting what we can from the earth. May there be many more Veenas everywhere.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I hope it widens further and that many students are inclined to move into this field rather than the coal industry areas. It could be an effective job retraining avenue perhaps?

        Like

        1. I wonder how many students choose to go into the coal industry now? If I was to advise anyone, I’d recommend them going into areas that look at renewable / reusable resources and alternate energy resources.

          According to my little research, the use of coal has declined in developed nations but continues to increase in developing countries building new electricity grids and infrastructure. Power, cement & steel manufacturing are the biggest users of coal. Coal is the cheapest energy source and until someone finds an affordable alternative, those countries have no other option. We need smart scientists and engineers to come up with alternative solutions.

          There’s so much to read on this topic. A lot of the time, the information is mixed up with politics and enviro sensationalism that my eyes glaze over. However, I found this Q&A piece interesting:
          https://energy.stanford.edu/news/qa-stanford-expert-explains-why-we-continue-burning-coal-energy

          Like

          1. Interesting that it still advocates use of coal yet is happy to make out its many pitfalls. I was on the understanding that they had moved past this point in the equation and that coal was now a dead product. Perhaps we are not quite there yet?

            Like

          2. I don’t think he’s advocating the use, just pointing out the realities.

            First world countries have stopped using coal for power because natural gas is cheaper. Third world and developing countries use coal because they don’t have access to cheaper resources.

            Like everything else, this topic is complicated. I feel better when I think of it as a science problem with smart people like Veema leading the way.

            Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply to Forestwood Cancel reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s