Seaside Scavenge trades in trash instead of cash

Scavenge: Port Macquarie Seaside Scavenge will see litter turned into a currency to purchase donated pre-loved clothing and other goods. Photo: supplied
Scavenge: Port Macquarie Seaside Scavenge will see litter turned into a currency to purchase donated pre-loved clothing and other goods. Photo: supplied

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A community event on Saturday will transform litter collected on Town Beach into a currency that can be used to purchase pre-loved clothes and goods.

The Seaside Scavenge is on from 9am until 1pm.

Founder Anna Jane Linke says volunteers will help transform Town Beach into a beach-cleaning haven.

“The trash trading action turns littler into a currency that is used to purchase pre-loved clothes and goods that have been donated by the wider Port Macquarie community,” Ms Linke said.

“Participants are rewarded for every 10 pieces of litter collected with a trash token. This is the currency accepted in the pop-up seaside market.

“This is an exciting event for Port Macquarie as it marks the first for the newly formed Seaside Scavenge Port Macquarie Chapter.

“The chapter has been set-up with the support of funding from Taronga Zoo and Port-Macquarie Hastings Council with the aim of running a number of annual events to engage the community with waste reduction and ocean pollution.”

The Port Macquarie Chapter is led by local student Karen Fulton and spearheaded with the support of a team of local women who are all concerned by the fact that 8-13 million tonnes of litter is dumped annually into the ocean.

Participants are rewarded for every 10 pieces of litter collected with a trash token. This is the currency accepted in the pop-up seaside market.

Anna Jane Linke

“The event will involve the wider community by hosting talks from local community and green groups such as Coastal Warriors and Boomerang Bags, as well as live musicians and recycling workshops by The Rhi Rebellion,” Ms Fulton said.

“We’re very excited that Port Macquarie was selected as a location for the first NSW Scavenge Chapter.

“It’s so important that people start to realise that it’s not just plastic waste but synthetic fibers from poor quality clothing that are polluting our oceans. We love what the Scavenge is all about and can’t wait to make it our own here in Port.”

Port Macquarie-Hastings Council acting director Dan Croft said council is pleased to be able to partner with the Seaside Scavenge again this year.

“Council encourages our community to head down to Town Beach on Saturday to enjoy some great live music and to do their bit to keep our beautiful coastline litter free,” he said.

Black Duck Brewery is supporting the event by donating drink tokens that participants can also purchase with their litter currency.

There are prizes up for grabs from Glasshouse, Bills Restaurant, Bodiline Pilates and Port Macquarie Surf School for the participants that collect the most litter, most butts, most straws, the weirdest item and who ‘scavenge’ the furthest.

In Australia, one  billion coffee cups end up in landfill every year. There are nine local cafés taking the Plastic-Free Pledge on the day of the event. This commits them to avoiding at least one single-use plastic item like straws, food-containers, bags or even offering a discount on coffee for takeaway customers that bring their own cup.

We’re very excited that Port Macquarie was selected as a location for the first NSW Scavenge Chapter.

Karen Fulton

For participants to earn their litter currency they must register take a bag and gloves, clean-up and then separate and sort the litter collected into recyclables and non-recyclables. Litter is recorded so that the data can contribute to the Australia Marine Debris Database managed by Tangaroa Blue.

Ms Linke said the Seaside Scavenge is designed to open peoples’ eyes to waterway pollution and offer an outlet to tackle the problem together.

“More importantly, we want to show people how easily it is to reduce their consumption of single-use plastics and fast-fashion,” she said.

“We are looking for quality goods clothes, books, accessories, shoes etc. for our pop-up market. Locals wishing to support via donation of pre-loved goods or volunteering can reach us via Facebook – Port Macquarie Seaside Scavenge.

Seaside Scavenge has grown from a community initiative at Coogee Beach to become a not-for-profit.

Since March 2015, 23 successful events have taken place between Mornington Peninsula and Townsville attracting over 1750 people to collect over 3500kg of litter, over 50,000 cigarette butts and donate over 2750kg of pre-loved goods.

Seaside Scavenge is on Town Beach on Saturday November 11, starts at 9am and concludes at 1pm.