Materials scientist and engineer Veena Sahajwalla launched a new way to recycle electronic waste that skips tons of transit and re-forms materials on site. Sahajwalla opened the world’s first microfactory targeting electronic waste, or e-waste, in Sydney in 2018. A second one began recycling plastics in 2019. One key to her approach is using small factories and avoiding long-haul trips for waste to be recycled. Another key to her unique approach is taking old materials and making something different; from them this approach adds fourth R, “re-form,” to reduce, reuse, recycle. Sahajwalla is now working with university and industry partners to commercialize the microfactory technology.

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