There are what can feel like an overwhelming number of issues to tackle in the war on waste.
While in Ballarat on Tuesday, host of popular ABC series War on Waste Craig Reucassel said the most urgent action needed is to remove food waste from landfill.
“That is something where we have the solutions but they are being held up with a lack of political will. Getting food waste out of landfill is probably the easiest thing we could do really quickly,” he told The Courier.
“The more longer term focus should be investing so we can properly recycle in Australia. The doors are closing on recycling our waste overseas and we want to make sure we have built our own capacity to deal with our waste.”
The Australian writer and comedian best known for his work on ABC’s The Chaser spoke to a crowd of 150 at the Ballarat Tech School on Tuesday evening, mainly focusing on the impact of plastics.
People of all ages from local businesses, teachers, students and community members attended the session.
We constantly hear problems we want to solve. If we can get young, clever people focusing on solutions they could make big change.Craig Reucassel, ABC War on Waste
Ballarat Tech School director Sofia Fiusco said the topic of the session, War on Waste Movement: educating for a sustainable future, was the focus of many Tech School discussions with partner schools.
Students last week participated in a program up-cycling plastics by focusing on science and design.
“They looked at the properties of plastic bags to recreate their own products and found how by applying heat they were able to make it stronger, heavier and thicker,” Ms Fiusco said.
“By understanding properties students understand how plastic can be re-purposed to have practical applications.
“We found young people were consciously aware of why they were needing to be a part of the war on waste and were already thinking about their plastic use.”
Student protests about climate change on Friday showed many young people are disenchanted with a lack of government action on environmental issues.
Both Mr Reucassel and Ms Fiusco said young people can drive change.
“If you can put business together with industry, teachers, education and young people, that is when we can really start to make change,” Ms Fiusco said.
“Young people are essential for not only finding solutions but keeping up the hassling of their parents. They’re the secret weapon,” Mr Reucassel said.
Ballarat Tech School plans to continue a practical focus on sustainability in education.