The University of Southern Queensland led New Options for Waste and Saving the Environment’ (No Waste) precinct project has been awarded $2 million from the Federal Government.
Federal Minister for Education Alan Tudge announced the investment for the Toowoomba and Ipswich-based pilot, which will aim to encourage material recycling and reuse processes.
University of Southern Queensland Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) Professor John Bell said the team would establish a precinct to work with local industries, governments, and communities.
“This is a great opportunity to grow general waste reduction initiatives and to cement these into a strong research grouping in the region,” Bell said. “Using a regional test case, the project will help reform current methods into a more efficient industry that is scalable and transferrable to other local communities nationally and globally.”
The team will create a “circular economy model” to deal with waste such as mixed plastics, glass, fibre, waxed cardboard/paper and rubber.
Co-project lead Dr Polly Burey said that University partners represent key contributor to the circular economy.
“We’re pinpointing the best way to work together to make commercial and residential recycling and upcycling profitable, maximising returns to incentivise widespread participation,” Dr Burey said.
Co-lead researcher Dr Tristan Shelley said the local solution would increase the capability for waste streams to be converted into different products.
“We aim to drive innovation in the circular economy by extending our knowledge in the field of waste materials from processing to final product engineering,” he said.
It will be funded through the Department of Education, Skills and Employment’s $40 million Strategic University Reform Fund, designed to help universities find innovative solutions for local communities.