Veena Sahajwalla NSW Australian of the Year 2022

Scientist who developed product that ‘melts’ used tyres and turns them into ‘green steel’ wins NSW Australian of the Year award

  •  Scientist won NSW Australian of the Year for 2022
  •  At the forefront of technologies used to recycle waste plastic 
  •  Famous for process that allows used tyres to be melted down 

Waste research scientist Veena Sahajwalla has won the 2022 NSW Australian of the Year Award.

The 56-year-old scientist, engineer and inventor pioneers research into waste, helping to turn it into a new generation of green materials and products.

Professor Sahajwalla, founding director of the Centre for Sustainable Materials Research and Technology at the University of NSW, is best known for inventing polymer injection technology in which old tyres are melted down and used to create ‘green steel’.

UNSW materials scientist Professor Veena Sahajwalla (above)

She collaborates with universities, industry and community groups to develop and use recycling science.

The 2022 NSW Senior Australian of the Year is Abla Kadous, president of the Islamic Women’s Welfare Association.

Ms Kadous helped establish Australia’s first welfare service for Muslim women which offers anti-discrimination forums, school-readiness programs, youth camps, cooking classes and food for those in need.

 NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet said the state’s recipients, across four categories, ’embody the Australian spirit and, despite life’s challenges, they have led the way in founding social, environmental and life-saving initiatives’.

‘All are selfless in their dedication, and their individual stories remind us all that we have the power to help others, to bring about real change and to improve the lives of many in the community,’ he said in a statement.

The 2022 NSW Young Australian of the Year is 26-year-old Dr Daniel Nour, who founded charity Street Side Medics.

The GP-led mobile medical service for people experiencing homelessness has 145 volunteers and four clinics across the state.

The 2022 NSW Local Hero is Shanna Whan, who founded Sober in the Country, which offers peer support, advocacy and education.

The winners were announced at a ceremony at Sydney’s Luna Park on Monday night.