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This Week In Waste: Wired Walls & Greener Foundations

This week in waste innovation, we lay the foundation on sustainable construction, with the spotlight on green concrete!
This Week In Waste: Wired Walls & Greener Foundations

Hey all,

This week in waste innovation, we lay the foundation on sustainable construction, with the spotlight on concrete!

Catch up with the latest R&D breakthroughs in low carbon concrete. Plus, I've added a new section on what's trending on socials.

And, if audio's more your style, snag the top stories in just 3 minutes with our latest "What's Up In Waste" episode on Apple, Spotify & online here.

Find all this and more below! Always keen to hear from you all. Let us know what topics you want more of.

Till next week,

Jane & Team Laying Waste Media


🌿 Green Skills Gap: Australia's Cleaner, Greener Future

Is Australia geared up with the right workforce and skills to achieve it? Dive into the inaugural 'Jobs and Skills Report 2023'  for clarity, especially the chapter on Clean Energy that forecasts three future job scenarios in Australia.

By 2030, for every job lost in fossil fuels, two will be created by the clean energy sector - according to the IEA's updated landmark report—a fascinating insight into their predictions for the growth of this sector across the next seven years.

Watch for our detailed feature that unpacks the Green Skills Gap and Australia's game plan for a cleaner, greener future later this month.


🔆 Waste Innovation News Picks

01/. Microsoft is testing a new low-carbon concrete mix for building more sustainable data centres.

In an open letter to the industry earlier this year, Microsoft, Amazon, Meta and Google called for 'greener' concrete to be used in building data centres and infrastructure.

Concrete production accounts for an estimated 8%-10% of global carbon emissions and is a complex product and process to tackle due to the raw materials used and the high temperatures during the manufacturing process.

Traditional cement powder is made from combining materials including limestone, shells with shale, slate silica sand and iron ore and then blasted at high temperatures to form a rock-like material that is ground down into super fine powder.

 "Within the built environment, decarbonisation of concrete and steel is critically important from a climate impact perspective," said Brandon Middaugh, the senior director of Microsoft's $1 billion Climate Innovation Fund.

With the acceleration of AI upon us, big tech is investing heavily in decarbonising their data centres, which are already known for massive energy consumption due to the need to cool down racks of servers. 

According to a recent McKinsey & Company report, demand for data centre construction is set to spike by 2030 and grow 10% year on year. 

Read more at Microsoft news.


01/. 'CO2 Concrete' revealed - Western Sydney University has unveiled a breakthrough recycled concrete product called 'CO2 Concrete', developed by Professor Vivian Tam. The recycled concrete product aims to decrease construction waste and carbon emissions. 

This innovative concrete is formed by placing crushed recycled concrete in a chamber and injecting it with carbon dioxide, making it as robust as traditional concrete while reducing carbon emissions from the production process. 

Following successful tests in 2019 and 2022, commercialisation talks with suppliers are underway. Professor Tam is also working on another eco-friendly product, 'Het-Crete', designed from mixed aggregate waste such as demolition and construction waste, which are challenging to recycle. 

Read more on the UWS website.


02/. E-Waste: The Concrete Game Changer? - A collaborative research endeavour into the possibilities of using waste printed circuit board (WPCB) fibres to strengthen concrete.

A recent international research study led by researchers from civil engineering institutes and universities in India, Nigeria, and Uganda explores the sustainable use of waste printed circuit board (WPCB) fibres in concrete.

This innovative approach seeks to repurpose e-waste, reducing environmental and health concerns associated with its disposal. 

By incorporating WPCB fibres into concrete, the researchers aim to lower construction costs and the demand for natural resources. 

Their findings published in Nature Scientific Journals suggest that concrete reinforced with these fibres exhibits enhanced mechanical properties, with a 5% WPCB fibre inclusion showing optimal results. 

The study also employed the Response Surface Methodology to theoretically validate the experimental outcomes, confirming the potential of this green construction method.

Read the Nature journal article here.


🗓️ Social Diary: Upcoming Free Webinars! 

18/10 - Avoiding Greenwashing for Product Stewardship Initiatives: Get clarity on environmental claims and avoid greenwashing with ACCC. It is hosted by the Product Stewardship Centre of Excellence - Register here.

24/10 - NSW EPA's Forward Vision: Tune in with Tony Chappel, NSW EPA CEO, for insights on climate, plastics, forests, and the circular economy. It is jointly hosted by Boomerang Alliance & Total Environment Centre. Register here.


📲 Trending on Green Socials

Spotlight Post:

Check out the fascinating reel from SLURRYTUB on their Instagram, from cement slurry to crystal clear water. I met the team back in July at AWRE in the innovation zone. You can watch our interview here.


Top Likes Per Post - Green Hashtags of the Week:

  1. #greentech - 🔥 5.1k average likes per post & a whopping 180k posts.
  2. #cleanenergy - 🌿 2.1k average likes per post and counting across 1.2 million posts!
  3. #lovetheplanet - 🌍 2k likes on average per post with 226k posts sharing the love.


📖 Kindle Book Of The Week

"We Tell Ourselves Stories To Live" is my favourite quote from The White Album by Joan Didion. Her unique first-person account of events, significant or otherwise, is a journey into sharing stories authentically.


🌋 Fun Tidbit

Have you ever wondered about the Roman secret to enduring concrete? It's all about volcanic ash, lime, seawater, and Pozzuoli in Naples. Thanks, University of Utah, for the fun fact!


🎙️ Stay Tuned

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Acknowledgement of Country
We honour and respect our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Traditional Custodians, Elders and communities and the spirit that binds us in our dreams and aspirations on Dharawal country. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging.