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Director of External Engagement Kate Wood-Foye, said CSU was collaborating with Precious Plastics Port Macquarie, Hastings Secondary College and The Plastic Collective, on a Three Phase Sustainability Project.
The 20-week on-campus program - Shruder, SharkTank & Solutionaires - will incorporate innovation practices and education, a public lecture series, and hands-on workshops for the community and students.
"[It] will equip future leaders with creative and critical problem-solving skills to formulate solutions to create a world worth living in," Ms Kate Wood-Foye said.
The first of the three connected sustainability programs is the Shruder initiative.
It is a dual purpose, compact, industrial shredder and extruder, purpose-built for recycling plastics.
It processes raw shredded plastic waste material from land, oceans, rivers, buildings and recycled household items, and converts this into usable extrusion cord filament and pellets.
School and university students, Rotary clubs and other community members have begun sorting and shredding single-use plastic items on-campus.
These can then be on-sold to recyclers or made into new products.
More than 70 people have already attended an education session run by zoologist Louise Hardman of The Plastic Collective, during which she shared her knowledge of plastics solutions and circular economy principles.
The session included how to establish a profitable recycling micro-enterprise.
In turn, marine biologist Lloyd Godson is teaching high school and university students, industry, and the community, how to use the Shruder, through a 20-week on-campus lab run in partnership with the Shark Tank eSchool.
"This unique hybrid project takes high school students from across the Hastings region on an entrepreneurial journey from problem definition, solution, prototyping and business modelling through to 'pitching' their business proposal," Ms Wood-Foye said.
"It encourages critical and creative thinking about finding solutions to real-world problems with the added and critical element of an environmental and social suitability lens."
The hybrid Solutionaires and eShark Tank program connects high school students on their social entrepreneurship journey.
The program has the potential to integrate with the university's environmental science academics and sustainability experts, as well as with advice and expertise from business, engineering, information technology, artificial intelligence, and innovation.
Planning is underway for the final element of the project, the creation of a Charles Sturt Sustainability Innovation Challenge, in 2023.
The challenge will involve designing a useful product from recycled plastic from the Shruder.
There are three divisions, each with a cash prize to reinvest in a sustainable activity.
Anyone interested in participating in these projects can contact Ms Wood-Foye via firstname.lastname@example.org.
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