THE community is fighting a losing battle if it relies solely on recycling to fix its ever-growing crisis, says CSU green manager Edward Maher.
To prepare the community's future workforce for the evolving challenges that await, AgriTech Incubator has organised a "war on waste" boot camp designed to push participants to think outside the box.
Mr Maher said there needs to be "bigger, broader and more creative" solutions coming from the younger generation.
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During the one-day program on Monday, participants will be asked to create solutions for an issue relating to waste management and sustainability.
"The Chinese government has decided that they are not going (to accept our waste anymore) and that has broken many of our kerbside recycling systems, which we are scrambling to come up with solutions at a local level," Mr Maher said.
"Waste is a really wicked problem in a modern society and is the symptom of us having access to very low cost production and convenience becoming a key component of a consumer market, which has led to single-use material becoming more common.
"We are struggling to keep pace on how to deal with those materials."
Mr Maher said young people will be in positions of influence soon and exposing them to the problems of the future today will help them become more creative and critical thinkers.
"Recycling is an end of line solution, but we need to look at it holistically and look back up the line. It's the way we're designing products and how they're sold," he said.
"If we're just dabbling with getting things in the right recycling stream, we're fighting a losing battle."
CSU student Cara Wilson is participating in the program in the hopes of unlocking the creative side of her brain before entering the workforce next year.
"I am passionate about sustainability, particularly in the agricultural industry. These skills are needed in the job, especially with the changing work environment," she said.
Those interested have been asked to register their interest via Eventbrite.