Recycling innovator to headline Australia Day celebrations in Parramatta

2022 NSW Australian of the Year and UNSW Scientia Professor Veena Sahajwalla. Image credit:

Renowned materials scientist and engineer Professor Veena Sahajwalla has been named the Australia Day Ambassador for the City of Parramatta, adding prestige to the upcoming celebrations.

The esteemed scientist is set to address the City of Parramatta’s Citizen of the Year awards on 25 January and participate as a guest on Australia Day, 26 January.

The 2022 NSW Australian of the Year and UNSW Scientia Professor has gained global recognition for her groundbreaking work in recycling science, particularly for creating the world’s first e-waste microfactory.

Professor Sahajwalla’s achievements extend to the development of eco-friendly materials, including green ceramic tiles and green steel, all crafted from recycled glass, textiles, and steel.

The impact of her work is already evident in projects like Mirvac’s Pavilions apartment building in Sydney Olympic Park, where green ceramic tiles have been utilised for flooring and wall tiles, the city stated in a media release.

Expressing her excitement about the upcoming visit, Professor Sahajwalla stated, “It’s such an honour to be an Australia Day Ambassador for Parramatta.”

She added, “It’s also a privilege to share my story around science and engineering and how our UNSW SMaRT Centre MICROfactorieTM Technologies are helping to tackle our waste and recycling challenges.”

Parramatta’s commitment to sustainability aligns with Professor Sahajwalla’s work, and she commends the City for its environmental initiatives. Parramatta Square’s carbon-neutral status and the Tree Champions program exemplify the city’s dedication to green practices.

City of Parramatta Lord Mayor Cr Pierre Esber expressed his honour in having Professor Sahajwalla as this year’s Australia Day Ambassador.

“It’s an honour and privilege to welcome this year’s Australia Day Ambassador Professor Veena Sahajwala and we hope our celebrations leave a positive lasting impression,” said Cr Esber.

Encouraging the local community, Professor Sahajwalla emphasised the significance of contributing to the community, stating, “As the recipient of the 2022 NSW Australian of the Year award, I know how special it feels when it comes to acknowledging the remarkable achievements of all Australians and what we can do when we work together.”