Recycling Week initiative at Port Macquarie

11 NOVEMBER 2022

Recycling Week initiative at Port Macquarie

Charles Sturt University in Port Macquarie is helping to reduce and recycle waste plastic on the Mid North Coast during and beyond National Recycling Week 2022 (Monday 7 to Sunday 13 November).

  • Charles Sturt University in Port Macquarie collaborates with local organisations to process shredded plastic waste and deliver student and community education on circular economy practices

Charles Sturt University in Port Macquarie is helping to reduce and recycle waste plastic on the Mid North Coast during and beyond National Recycling Week 2022 (Monday 7 to Sunday 13 November).

Charles Sturt Director of External Engagement (Port Macquarie and Mid North Coast) Ms Kate Wood-Foye said the University was proud to embark on a collaborative Three Phase Sustainability Project to minimise the scourge of waste plastics in the community and the environment.

“The Three Phase Project is a collaboration with Precious Plastics Port Macquarie, Hastings Secondary College and The Plastic Collective, and is made possible on the Port Macquarie campus by a $9,000 Charles Sturt Sustainability grant,” Ms Wood-Foye said.

“The project will incorporate sustainability and innovation practices and education, a public lecture series, and hands-on workshops with both the community and students of all ages to come together to create a circular economy of precious plastics.

“The 20-week face-to-face on-campus innovation and education program will equip future leaders with creative and critical problem-solving skills to formulate solutions to create a world worth living in.”

The Shruder initiative is the first of three connected sustainability projects on the Port Macquarie campus. The Shruder is a dual purpose, compact, industrial shredder and extruder, purpose-built for recycling of used plastics.

School and university students, Rotary clubs and other community members have begun sorting and shredding single-use plastic items on campus, which can then either be on-sold to plastic recyclers or made into new products.

The University is working closely with two passionate educators in this space to include local sustainability champion, marine biologist Mr Lloyd Godson and internationally renowned zoologist, science and plastic educator Ms Louise Hardman (pictured) of The Plastic Collective.

The University will be the homebase for The Plastic Collective proprietary ‘Shruder’ recycling machine that was secured through a partnership with Hastings Secondary College which was a successful recipient of the My Community Project Grant.

More than 70 passionate community members enjoyed a public education session at the recent Exploration Series with Ms Hardman sharing her extensive global knowledge of ‘plastic solutions and circular economy principles for regional and remote communities’.

Ms Hardman inspired locals to learn from national and global case studies where the Collective has equipped communities with an innovative package of technologies, machinery, training and support that enables them to establish a profitable plastic recycling micro-enterprise. 

The Shruder machine processes raw shredded plastic waste material from land, sea/beach, rivers, buildings and recycled household items, and converts this into usable extrusion cord filament and pellets.

As part of the project, expert Mr Lloyd Godson is conducting a series of on-campus training workshops for high school students, university students, industry, and community on the use of the machine in November and during 2023.

A second element of the project included the Charles Sturt Port Macquarie Innovation Hub as the home-base for a 20-week on-campus Solutionaires Lab facilitated through a partnership with Shark Tank eSchool and Lloyd Godson.

“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.

There is also the opportunity to connect with and learn from leading industry partners such as Port Plastics and Axiom Connected.

Planning is underway for the final element of the project, the creation of a ‘Charles Sturt Sustainability Innovation Challenge’ in 2023.

The Challenge will invite high school students, Charles Sturt University students and community members to design 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 to participate in these projects can contact Ms Kate Wood-Foye via engageportmacquarie@csu.edu.au


Media Note:

To arrange interviews with Ms Kate Wood-Foye and Mr Lloyd Godson contact Bruce Andrews at Charles Sturt Media on mobile 0418 669 362 or news@csu.edu.au

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