A microfactory should be established at the Orange resource centre to recycle waste into walling materials for buildings.
That's the bold vision of enterprising University of NSW Professor Veena Sahajwalla, who has appeared on ABC TV shows including War on Waste and The New Inventors.
Professor Sahajwalla spoke to business people and industry representatives in Orange on Thursday alongside business advisor Michael Sharpe who is the director of the Sydney-based Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre, a government-funded private body.
They are encouraging regional businesses to work together and learn from university research to create new products and markets.
Professor Sahajwalla said waste textile and timber products left at the Ophir Road Resource Recovery Centre could be recycled into hybrid panels for walls.
She said combining the two would create strong material with acoustic values to reduce noise.
It is about creating brand new products from waste materials.Professor Veena Sahajwalla, University of NSW
"All of the materials are readily available," she said.
She showed samples of products made elsewhere.
Professor Sahajwalla suggested Orange City Council and businesses could work together on such a project.
She said producing the products at the waste centre would reduce transport costs, cut purchasing costs of materials and recycle waste.
"It is about creating brand new products from waste materials," she said.
She said the community could work together to identify areas of demand for the products.
"You want to be able to have markets that are not always dependent on economies of scale. It is economies of purpose that [can] keep products out of waste," she said.
"I definitely would love it, for regions that makes a lot of sense."
Mr Sharpe said it was their first visit to Orange as part of a regional tour.
He said they wanted companies to join the AMGC to benefit from UNSW research to grow their businesses.
Mr Sharpe said defence contracts presented opportunities for regional manufacturers to create work and expand into global markets.
He said companies needed to collaborate to help each other grow.
Mr Sharpe said they were also looking at setting up export hubs across Australia.
"It is showing a path that even companies here in Orange can [follow] for global opportunities," he said.
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