UNSW'S Centre for Sustainable Materials Research and Technology (SMART) Centre is collaborating with various businesses and organisations to help translate our recycling and reformation technology into commercial reality.
In one example, we are partnering with disruptive glasses manufacturer and retailer Dresden to design, build and test the manufacture of spectacles from waste plastic such as nylon from fishing nets, milk bottle lids, Lego pieces and other commonly discarded items.
Dresden, its commercial partners, and UNSW recently successfully applied for a $2.7 million grant from the Federal Department of Business's Cooperate Research Centre program to build a fully automated manufacturing centre where recycled waste plastics are transformed into high quality, stylish, low-cost spectacle frames of exceptional durability. 11
The novel plastic recycling technology has the potential to be applied more widely to produce other high performance products whilst reducing waste and environmental degradation. While Dresden currently uses some reformed waste plastic in its frames, the challenge for UNSW'S SMART as part of this program, is to develop a reliable way to use 100 per cent waste plastic in the manufacturing process that is a simplified and closed loop with zero waste. The project partners recently commenced the project and aim to conclude it by achieving the aim to have developed a full commercial production facility.
In other examples, SMART is separately collaborating with Planet Ark12 and Nespresso13 on two projects related to the waste from coffee drinking. With Planet Ark, we are collaborating to find and develop new end uses for coffee waste and to trial them in potential manufacturing processes.
And with Nespresso, we are looking at ways to capture and collect coffee capsules to reform the metals into valuable materials for reuse. We are looking at a new process that does not involve a traditional smelting processes that are expensive, complex, and unable to meet the dynamic needs of smaller scale processes to reform waste into high value materials.