Would you like some more plastic with that?

Would you like some more plastic with that?

I am reminded whilst spreading my jar of plastics from the month of July out over my coffee table just how much this petroleum-based product infiltrates every corner of our lives. It’s a massive challenge to do anything from downtime to kitchen time or even to care of our own health without plastics… which I’m starting to realise, is at odds with one another.

Health and hospitals carry a big plastic footprint, which I’ve managed to avoid most of my life. Except for last month when I had my first trip to an operating room to get my wisdom teeth out. The whole process from dentist to orthodontist to surgeon was a big eye opener in the number of packets opened, syringes used and plastic cups I was asked to drink from. (We clearly need to get Rachel Shields, a Mental Health Clinical Advisor at Bentley Health Service in WA, over here to implement changes to save 70,000 plastic cups from ending up in landfill annually.)

I know there’s a justified reason for using plastics in health, but it doesn’t make the wastage any more bearable. Especially when I look at the other end of the spectrum of chocolates and tea.

Of course there are a bundle of ways to enjoy these two delights sans plastic. But I dropped the ball completely on this just within the first few days of PFJ; accepting a seeming innocent offer of Lindt balls only to realise while savouring the melting chocolate in my mouth that in my hands was the crinkle of wrappers.

My Earl Grey tea bag was a similar story. I’m usually a loose leaf gal but forget that an offer of tea often follows a bag and most teabags, particularly the square standard bags, are lined with a thin film of polypropylene to seal the sides together. 

Polypropylene is a thermoplastic and is represented by the recycling identification symbol 5. The material generates an annual market of 45 million metric tonnes with demand expected to rise to 62 million metric tons by 2020[1]. One guess who the major end user is?

The packaging industry!

Polypropylene (PP) is praised like an ancient god in the packaging industry for its versatility, strength and affordability. It has a melting point of 130 degrees Celsius which appears to make it quite durable for everyday use.

Reading about the effects of heating polypropylene and melamine resin (common plastics used for yogurt containers, picnic sets and even in baby formula[2]), studies and doctors are continually sited as saying the risk of toxins leaching is “pretty low” and that PP “doesn’t seem to leach many of the chemicals other plastics do”[3].

Ok, so ‘the risk is low’… but when we’re in contact with plastics from the moment we open our eyes to the second we close them at night, 365 days a year, for our entire lives, is the risk still low? Sipping on takeaway coffee lids, eating takeaway noodle soups, plastic particles have even been found in beer and flour… is the risk still low? Surely the concentration of these toxins build up in our system.

Many of you will think I’m some crazed, skeptic, greeny looking to put a hole through anything that comes from a non-renewable industry but look at the rise of infertility, prostrate and breast cancer, the dropping age of puberty in young girls and increased hyperactivity in kids since the 50’s… coincidentally when plastics came into common place for households.

Tell me how no connection can be made?

I started out on this plastic-free journey in an attempt to reduce my impact on the marine environment, but the more I’m immersed the more I realise it might actually be doing me quite a bit of good. Not surprising really, the more I do this stuff the more I realise that personal sacrifices for the environment reward me in bigger and better ways than I could have thought.

So although my coffee table is pretty full I’m going to continue on this plastic-free living venture. I will endeavor to be more conscience because that’s all I can do, each and everyday. Whatever you do to reduce your impact is better than nothing, so give it a crack... don’t wait until next July!

 

Here’s a list of all the plastics I used in July (see picture above):

-       1 x syringe packet

-       1 x syringe

-       1 x early grey + tea bag

-       1 x celery bag

-       2 x lindt balls

-       1 x balsamic vinegar plastic lid wrapping

-       1 x balsamic lid

-       1 x eyedrops

-       1 x milk/juice lid

-       3 x unidentifiable generic plastic

-       3 x clothing tags

-       2 x floss

-       1 x tongs packet

-       1 x biscuit packet

 

[1] https://www.creativemechanisms.com/blog/all-about-polypropylene-pp-plastic

[2] http://www.abc.net.au/health/talkinghealth/factbuster/stories/2013/04/23/3737325.htm

[3] http://www.alternet.org/personal-health/toxic-traps-when-these-7-types-plastic-are-dangerous

Who are we banning the bag for?

Who are we banning the bag for?

Friday’s news from leading supermarket giant Woolworths to phase out plastic bags by mid-2018 has received a wave of support that’s still breaking. Praise is coming in from all directions - from nationwide lobby groups to public servants (who are still bent on keeping tight-lipped about the government’s direction in this domain).

It made such a crash that major competitor Coles jumped on the wagon just 2 hours after Woolworths made the announcement. Then, Harris Farm upped the ante and committed to removing single-use plastic bags from their stores by January 1, 2018.

Woolworths reasoned the bag ban as “the right thing to do as one of Australia’s largest retailers”. Woolworths predicts that they burn through 3.2 billion bags per year. The direct costs attached to the production, transport, storage and distribution of these bags carries a price tag of $170 million per annum.

For big business to implement change before policy is significant in any movement. This is not to be downplayed. Nor is the significant drop in consumption of bags and their proliferation in our environment that the ban bag will deliver.

Yet, as the finer details of the ban come to light, it is difficult not to question the genuine roots of this decision. The current grey plastic-bags will be replaced with a ‘slightly thicker’ plastic bag at a cost of 15cents or a reusable ‘green’ bag can be purchased for $3.

Not only will these businesses be saving $170 million but they will be bumping their revenue up by $70 million from the sale of goods that still damage the environment. Coles and Woolworths profiteering from so-called eco-friendly bags is far from new news.

Both Clean Up Australia Day and Planet Ark Directors have expressed concern at the logical gap in addressing the problem of single-use plastics with this method. Green bags are made from polypropylene, which does not biodegrade and is dependent on oil (non-renewable) resources.

So a slightly thicker plastic bag or a reusable bag made without any community consultation or engagement of local business is the best they can come up with? On top of that, the absence of any discussion around using this revenue to support environmental clean-up efforts or waste education in schools is another disappointment.

It’s equally unsurprising and deflating to realise decisions framed to benefit the environment hang completely in the hands of economic gain.

So, in a world that pits the economy against the environment who exactly is this bag ban ‘the right thing’ for?

Wall Up Bondi - #banthebag

Wall Up Bondi - #banthebag

If you missed it last Sunday (June 4th) the Surfrider Bondi crew rallied the troops to challenge ocean pollution with the best vibes and fun to be had by building sandcastles.

There are between 8-13 million tonnes of trash dumped into our oceans every year! Most of which consists of single-use plastics such as plastic bags that are used for an average of only 7 minutes!!

The plan on Sunday was to build a sandcastle wall that spanned Bondi beach to protect our oceans from plastic pollution and call out local government, such as Gabrielle Upton, on this issue.

Plastic-bags are ONE thing that we can do something about here in NSW. It’s up to the leaders of this country to look beyond their 3-year term and start making decisions based on the longevity of the planet’s health and the humans that inhabit it.

Banning the bag is one of these decisions that must be made!

We cannot ignorantly and idly bundle along in life without addressing the ways in which our everyday actions impact the world around us.

So it was with big smiles that more and more people joined the chain of sandcastles on Sunday from 8am. There were hands from fellow organisations such as Take3, Responsible Runners, Transition Bondi as well as Seaside Scavenge which is always a pleasure to see and be part of!

The best part was the Sunday morning strollers, not knowing what was happening who eagerly took up post next to a big pile of sand and got working once they cottoned on to the #banthebag message.

And that’s just it; people are behind it! Yes it can be an inconvenience, but only if you let it be.

Most of us have hands or pockets, so use them! Especially if you’ve only got a couple items to carry. Don’t wrap your veggies in plastic, just put them in the basket and wash them at home… God knows they definitely have more pesticides on them than any germ you could catch from your average shopping trolley.

An enoooormous thanks to the Bondi organisers. Finger's crossed the message was heard!

If this is something you care about, change your behavior but also change the mind of your local leader. Hit them up on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, any medium with a short message, it’s bigger than signing a petition because it comes from you.

Or, join Boomerang Alliances Thundercap today, which will automically share the same post on all our accounts at 12pm today to #BANTHEBAG!

https://www.thunderclap.it/projects/57953-give-the-oceans-a-voice?locale=en

 

Debuting the Scavenge in Townsville

Debuting the Scavenge in Townsville

We couldn’t have asked for more perfect weather during our first Townsville Seaside Scavenge as part of Ecofiesta! The sun was shining and everyone was feeling energetic and motivated to help clean up Townsville! No coffee needed…okay, maybe just a little ;)

Our first participants trickled in bright and early, and cleaned up around the park. We were surprised how many little pieces of rubbish could be found around these beautiful areas such as Queens Gardens! Everything from straws to waxed take-away cups, and plastic food wrappers were found. One young man, Daniel, cleaned up 51 cigarette buts just outside the park! Because of his good work, he has won himself a snorkel trip with Adrenalin Dive!

Some participants were keen enough to go far and wide! We had two people travel up Castel Hill, where they collected 184 items! Later in the day, another group came back from the north side of Pallaranda Beach… Epic effort guys! These two groups were rewarded for the furthest scavenged, and most litter! We hope they enjoy their dive trip with Pleasure dive and the unlimited yoga pass with Lighten up!

Straws are one of the most common items found in the ocean and on beaches! To help keep them from getting to our precious marine environment, another young man, Rayden, collected 13 straws from the surrounding parklands. Great job! For this, he won enough tickets for himself and his mates to check out the Cowboys match at the end of the month.

In total, 48 coffee and ice cream cups were cleared from Townsville parks, beaches, and Castle Hill! One woman, Shelly, contributed to most to this count! Thanks to her, Townsville is just a little more squeaky clean! Shelly has been rewarded $100 from Bulk Foods Sources!

 We also had many kids take plastic free pledges on the day! Many people were excited to limit their single use plastics which is awesome to see. Especially with Plastic-Free July around the corner, we hope everyone is gearing up with jars and tactics to cut back next month.

A big thanks goes to all our sponsors and volunteers! It was truly and epic effort! Also, a big thanks to Townsville City Council, the team at Reef Check Australia and Tangaroa Blue for being part of the action! Can’t wait to see you next year!

RCAvolunteers - 12.jpg

This event was hosted by Reef Check Australia and Seaside Scavenge and supported by NQ Dry Tropics through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme. Additional support through Townsville City Council.

Scavenging the remote bays on Magnetic Island!

Scavenging the remote bays on Magnetic Island!

Despite the gray skies and pitter-patter of rain we jumped on the Fantasea barge with the ute fully loaded and volunteers checked in with Sealink. As we crossed the stretch of water between Townsville and Magnetic Island the clouds began to part. There was no way Reef Check Australia’s first Island Scavenge was going to be anything less than a sun-filled day of good times!

Facing north, surrounded by a spectacular landscape we set up at Horseshoe Bay, not knowing how much litter was scattered around the place. Apart from the butts it seemed to be pretty pristine, and free from any litter on the large scale.

We were quickly shown the reality of this remote island with our first participant, Federico. He collected everything from metal spoons, cans and glass bottles, totaling with 89 pieces of litter. He also managed to scavenge the most coffee and ice-cream cups!

To the unsuspecting eye these items seem to be recyclable with their paper surrounds, but don’t be fooled! The paper is lined with a plastic film that coats the inside, and takes the form of a jellyfish in the water. So thanks to Lighten Up Yoga Studio here in Townsville, we have a 1-month unlimited pass to hand over to Federico for keeping them out of the bay.

From blow-up pillows to bags of carbon fiber, there were all kinds of weird and wacky items scavenged. One we couldn’t get our head around was a packaged Gillette Razor and a full can of foam. Fortunately, Guy McCutchan found these sitting neatly together in the estuary behind Horseshoe Bay before they could flow into the Bay. For this odd discovery he has landed himself a 6-month pass to Reef HQ Aquarium! 

There were a whole heap of trails scavenged, rocks scoured and remote locations reached with bags and gloves by our keenest scavengers. Savannah Martin made it over to Rocky Bay on her motorbike and collected 226 pieces of litter. For this she has scored both the Trail Blazer and Best Snap prizes for capturing her epic effort. We hope she has some mates to join her on a paddleboard experience with In The Loop and for an eco adventure of the Island with Tropicana Tours!

Cigarette butts are the number one item collected during cleanups and this Saturday on Magnetic Island it was no different. 1 butt contaminates the surrounding 50L of water with toxins, so we’re stoked that 1,296 butts collected during the Scavenge aren’t able to escape into the ocean. A massive effort by Freek who collected 529 of these from the beach, and who can now take a mate to enjoy the Cowboys match on the 3rd of June.

During the day we were treated to the tunes of some local musicians, Ben Vernon and Jeff Buckley. The Howling Swamp Dogs played a toe tapping blend of guitar and harmonica which made the afternoon all the more enjoyable. Mark Hillman then graced the stage with an inspiring acoustic set and vocals to match. Big thanks to these three for creating the funky vibes!

The music must have charmed a couple of our participants who went above and beyond. We had Jasmine collect 512 pieces of litter including a whole heap of glass from the Bay. For her awesome effort she has scored a 1-day snorkel trip with Adrenaline Dive. Another legend, Ashley came in second with 226 pieces of litter and for this has scored a sunset cruise for two on Big Mama Sail Yacht!

Fishing wire, fishing lures, fishing rods were amongst the pile of litter scavenged on Saturday. Thanks to Caroline there is now over 100m of wire that is no longer sitting in the rocks at Horseshoe Bay and capable of wrapping itself around coral. The crew at Pleasure Dive will be glad to see it gone with fishing line being the most common item found on the reefs of Magnetic Island. They have a Scuba Experience voucher with Caroline’s name on it… Well done!

It’s important to see all this junk being collected off our beaches but what’s even better is not using it in the first place. We can start to avoid single-use packaging by shopping at places like The Source Bulk Foods in North Ward. Here, you bring your jars and bags and fill them up with all kinds of grains, nuts, detergents and more. We have a $100 voucher to give away to the legend that collected the most straws… so thank you Sam Smith for the epic job on the straw front. We hope you fill many a jar with this wicked prize!

An incredible number of prizes were donated by local businesses to get everyone Scavenging up a storm. Dance North Academy wanted to see kids doing their bit. We had one of our incredible volunteers Stella (who runs local pottery classes) facilitate the Trashy Arts Corner, where kids could get creative with the litter collected on our marine creature stencils. We were super impressed with Nik and Lukas creative flair of the crab, so we’d like to pass on a double pass to the ‘Rainbow Vomit’ production showing this Friday and Saturday!

Clearly, the Scavenge was an epic success. Overall 60 pairs of hands collected 115kg of litter, including 32kg of recycling and 1,296 butts. We had over a 100kg of pre-loved clothes, books, toys and more that were donated by the local community.

A massive thanks to everyone involved! Without the dedication on the day from our incredible crew of volunteers sorting and recording data for Tangaroa Blue’s Australian Marine Debris Database and local support from Magnetic Island Nature Care Association, this event would not have been possible. In particular NQ Dry Tropics and the National Landcare Programme for the financial support.

If you missed the action on Saturday, well you’re in luck! Reef Check Australia will be hosting a second Scavenge as part of Ecofiesta on Sunday the 4th June, so we’ll see you there! 

This event was hosted by Reef Check Australia and Seaside Scavenge and supported by NQ Dry Tropics through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme. Additional support through Townsville City Council.

 

Plastic-Free Festival Goings

Plastic-Free Festival Goings

Keeping the plastic-free mantra going when adventuring with a crew of people can be tricky, especially when these outings revolve around multi-day camping festivities. But there’s nothing a little planning can’t fix. And really, who doesn’t  somewhat plan for a weekend away?

Three meals a day and snacks in between to cater for… Map it out. If you’re a regular plastic-free fanatic, then you probably do this anyway. Firstly, get an idea from your mates on what they want to eat. No doubt many of their treats will come wrapped in plastic so think of some alternative replacements. For example:

Screen Shot 2017-04-20 at 9.32.07 AM.png

From this breakdown it’s clear that there are three places or maybe even two to get all your goods for the weekend:

•       Fruit and Veg Grocer/Market

•       Food Co-op or Bulk Food Store

•       Supermarket

Weekend away preparation can be hectic as is let alone trying to squeeze in a visit to three different stores. If this is the case, write a shopping list for each store with specific brands included and recruit your mates to go on a plastic-free shopping experience equipped with the list. Ideally, the grocer and the co-op will be where you fill the majority of bags and jars. The last few things can be picked up at the supermarket.

I have to disclose there was a vote for wraps on our recent Easter escape shopping list. And as I have not yet found a plastic-free alternative without making them, we splurged on two bags of wraps… and a bag of Easter eggs!

IMG_4663.jpg

There is a level of compromise that comes with introducing your mates to plastic-free festival goings. No doubt I’ve copped some flack but it’s usually followed by a whole heap of gratitude on the drive home when they’re feeling that little bit healthier from all the plastic-free goodness.

There are other cosmetic things like baby wipes, and of course glitter that will be on the cards for camping and festivals. If you can steer everyone clear of glitter, which is essentially hundreds and thousands of tiny pieces of sparkly plastic, and suggest everyone brings a flannel to wash, then you’ll be onto a winner!

I was pretty fortunate (and stoked) in that my weekend revolved around a festival adventure where there was a ‘Leave No Trace’ message. That meant you ship out what you ship in, rubbish included! There was not one bin to be found. Better yet, the food stalls sold everything in reusable containers. These containers were plastic but the difference is they’re not single-use plastics! There was a washing up bucket where we dropped our chopsticks, bowls, plates, cups once finished, and these were washed up by the staff and offered to the next customers.

There were no serviettes given out with samosas, the deep-fried tofu was wrapped in a piece of lettuce, the ice cream – for the cup lovers – was served in a little ceramic cup with a metal spoon, and the Chai Tent gave out little mugs of goodness.

It was pretty much a dream for me…

Yet, I’m not living in some utopian bubble. For some it didn’t work. I spied some noodle bowls at campsites, some chai mugs under trees and some cans in the compost loos. But hey, we have to start somewhere and let’s be honest it would be quite remarkable if it worked 100%…after all, we are human!

With the help of festivals like Confest who are pioneering the way for zero-waste events, there’s change coming and as always it’s up to us to spread it. So do your best people, cut back on the single-use (that includes tents!), buy quality over quantity, and this shift in consciousness will grow with your help.

2nd Birthday in Coogee!

2nd Birthday in Coogee!

It was touch and go whether the Scavenge would go ahead on Saturday amidst all the rain. But surprisingly the weather stuck to it’s daily routine of late arvo showers and we escaped it simply by shifting the start time forward. Apologies to all that missed the memo and thought we’d be there until 6!

As the event was supported by Randwick Council we’re pretty stoked we got in 4 hours of scavenging and broke some records of participation, weight and butts collected! We also had over 250kg of pre-loved threads, books and all kinds of toys and knick-knacks that were donated by the community to trade for trash!

301kg of litter were collected on Saturday. This equated to 8 full wheelie bins -195kg of waste and 106kg of recycling. Amongst this were 7,681 cigarette butts and 5,816 pieces of sea glass that washed up smooth from all the tumbling around in the sand. All this rain has bought an insane amount of junk from our city streets into our beautiful bays and beaches! But luckily we had 145 pairs of hands there to pick it up!

3,700 of these butts were collected by Deana, Louis and Angel (seen below) whom spent a good hour scouring the Goldstein Reserve and managed to fill an entire shopping bag. The folk from Barzura Café can’t wait to get these guys in there and treat them to $50 of food and drinks to say thanks for saving all those toxins from entering the water!

Throughout the day we were treated by live tunes. Portia Bennett kicked us off whistling and strumming some laid back beats. And later Ari Levy plucked the funkiest and freshest of tracks with some soulful rap from Yoav and Maite. Thanks for bringing those goooood vibes!

We collected straws into the hundreds with a total of 458! Tim and Katie did the job on getting these pesky single-use items off the beach and out of the wind by collecting 40…. most of which came from McDonald’s of course! These guys have scored a delicious $50 voucher to Salt Pony Café. Well done!

Sarah Rhodes who runs Plastic Free Cambodia came down to have a chat to us all about single-use stuff. She wrapped it up by saying she trained herself to remember to bring a coffee cup by simply denying herself a coffee if she didn’t have one… Sounds like something we could all try!

50,000 coffee cups are used every 30 minutes in Australia which is quickly apparent on the beach where 138 were collected on Saturday... 19 of which by Scott Burges who has now landed himself a $50 voucher to Morning Glory Café. These legends also did $2.50 coffees for Scavengers with their own cups. Thanks for helping us spread the re-use vibes Morning Glory!

If you’re out of the loop and didn’t know the Coogee Pavilion were behind us for the second year running, then you missed out on one of the 100 beer, wine, spirit and soda vouchers they donated to cleanup Coogee. These gems were worth 20 items of litter and it’s safe to say many thirsts were quenched thanks to their generous donation! They also treated us volunteers to some delicious pizza post-event which our bellies were very appreciative of!

There was some weird and wacky stuff collected on Saturday from a piece of glass with the date of 1953 on it to a punching bag. But the mouth plate with 2 fake teeth definitely takes the cake. We have a photo of the winners but have failed to get their names down… So if you know these people tell them to get in touch to receive their $50 voucher to Bell & Anchor café!

Unfortunately the underwater cleanup planned for Gordon’s Bay that morning was cancelled due to massive swell the storms were throwing up. But at least Rianti Bieler from the Underwater Research Group who leads these dives still  had a chance to came down and share her tales of what makes its way below the depths. We also had Richie So and the Responsible Runners crew down there chatting regular cleanups at Coogee and Bondi! Look ‘em up!

Maybe it was one of these wicked talks that inspired our Scavengers to go above and beyond. Who knows? But with 1,679 pieces of litter Benedict Compton definitely took our tally up the most and in return can stretch out with a 5 class pass to the Living Room Yoga. Nathan Field Scavenged the furthest making his way round to Gordons Bay to scour under the boat ramp for sinkers… $50 voucher to Black Pony Café headed your way. 

As you can tell it was a jam-packed arvo of brilliant vibes and change making action. 6 local cafés took the Plastic-Free Pledge on Saturday. This was a challenge for them to ask their customers to not use straws, go topless on their coffees (no lids) as well as avoid plastic bags for the day. A massive thanks to Café Randwick, Coogee Café, Le Petit Café, Clearview Wellness Centre, Poke Café and Gusto for pioneering change in coffee culture!

It was a brilliant day, photos were snapped all over to win the $50 voucher at Bell & Anchor. After much deliberation we’ve settled on @vetchloes snap getting amongst the Scavenge frame with trash in hand….  Thanks for all the wicked photos guys, awesome to see what y’all were getting up to!

If anyone is interested in getting involved with the Scavenge on a more permanent basis and has some good skills to share, we are having a meet-up Wednesday 29th March that you’re welcome to join from 6:30pm:

https://www.facebook.com/events/1876041205943417/

Bondi Scavenge!

Bondi Scavenge!

Our 15th Seaside Scavenge took place at the bustling Bondi Beach last Saturday. Unfortunately the drizzly weather kept the bustling to a minimum (at least for the start of the day). While we were setting up alongside Waverly Councils annual sustainability event Summerama, we had a crew of underwater divers scouring the sea floor over at Camp Cove.

From 7:30am the Underwater Research Group, consisting of 7 divers led by John Turnbull took to the depths to collect all sorts of sunken trash. Among the 5kg of broken glass collected, they also rescued 500m of fishing line, 142 fishing lures as well as multiple plastic fragments.

Of the 8 million tonnes of litter dumped annually into our ocean it’s already very frightening what is bobbing on the surface, let alone realising the amount sinking to the sea floor. Particularly, when much of the marine life becomes so adapted that they make our wine bottles their homes!

Back at Bondi we had all hands on deck to sort through 12,249 pieces of litter. It didn’t equate to a whole lot of weight, only 31kg in total. But simply echoed the Scavenge message that ‘every bit has a value, big or small!’. It was all very valuable for our Local Litter Check completed on behalf of the EPA and Keep NSW Beautiful, thanks to both of these groups for the grant support.

There were some legendary efforts that shone through on Saturday. Jess and Karen made butts their mission. Whether they wanted the 10 x Power Living Pass or not…. 1100 cigarette butts later and 550,000L of water potentially saved from toxins and the pass is all theirs!

Single-use nightmares like coffee cups and straws were our target on Saturday and the crew from Beach Fit Bondi put up some awesome prizes to get people pumped. Cynthia scavenged 15 coffee cups and is now looking at a 3 month F45 training pass. Katja picked up an epic 108 straws from Bondi beach… she probably doesn’t need anymore fitness after that but headed her way is a 3 month training pass to Beach Fit!

Throughout the day we were treated to the talents of Marina DeBris, a Sydney based artist who creates fashion from beach litter she has collected. 8 models grabbed the crowds attention wrapped in coffee cups, weathered down plastics, rope and fishing wire along with the rest of it… An impressive statement on consumption!

We also had artists Stella Chen and Natasha Wakefield running the Trashy Art Corner. There were loads of kids streaming through having a crafty ol’ time with the trash we’d be collecting. Thanks to these gals and Portia Briana for getting the creative vibes going!

Plastic beverage bottles although being present for only such a little amount of time have somehow managed to wiggle their way into many people’s daily habits. With 4.2 beverage containers used everyday in Australia, plastic bottles definitely are not the way! On Saturday, Karo, Lauren and Steven found 7 among a whole lot of other litter. We hope they’ve got a bubba because they’ve landed themselves a term voucher to Gymberoo, a Bondi early learning centre.

There’s always a bunch of weird and toxic items left behind on the beaches. Between beakers, dummies, nuts and bolts it was a tough call. Jen managed to bring back from the beach a rather large and out-of-place item that took the shape of a car bumper. For this find we’re stoked to send you out with the Australian Marine Sciences Association to be a Scientist with them for a day.

Just to leave you itching until the end, Lore and Steven scored the 3 x surfing lessons with Let’s Go Surfing by collecting the most litter overall 1,351 pieces from all over Bondi! We hope you get your ride on!

Another lucky soul to score a 10 x Power Living Pass was @bravelilecowarrior who captured an ironic snap on Saturday. After Kaylee, Jess and Cyn did an awesome job on the beach the three of them wanted to refresh with some juices at Surfish Café… Only to order in and have their juices delivered in plastic single-use cups.

Unfortunately, this is happening all too often… Entire cafés switching their cutlery and plates to single-use items like in About Life… ironic huh? But that’s why it was so damn awesome to have had 7 local Bondi Cafés sign on to our Plastic-Free pledge. Gertrude & Alice, Lox Stock & Barrel, Funky Pies, Cami Kitchen, Café North, Sadhana and Orchard St all took to going ‘topless’ on their coffees (no lids), not serving plastic straws and not offering plastic bags with a smile.

 

It’s a small step and a hard one for cafés to take over the customer. We got some great feedback from Orchard St. who said they’re going to adopt recycled bottles for their ice-drinks and only offer Bio-Pak for customers that really want it. They’re also going to start asking people if they want a lid on their coffee with their order… pretty wicked! Sadhana Kitchen gave the plastic-free plede a good nudge taking time to explain to their beach-going customers to either take a few sips before they venture to the sand or either give themselves 5 minutes to drink in!

That’s all it takes people... giving yourself a couple minutes to think about it and to change your habits. Not saying it’s easy but it’s definitely not too hard, especially when we have a whole community of conscientious souls that want to make a difference behind us! Massive thanks to The Bucket List for putting on food and drinks for all us weary volunteers when we wrapped up... very, very much appreciated!

Caring for our Ocean in Manly

Caring for our Ocean in Manly

Besides the buzzing end of year vibes and the prospect of holidays, there’s always something great about this time of year. Given the chance, it’s a pretty prime time to think about what it is that really means a lot to us.

Seaside Scavenge is all about cleaning up our ocean. We only have one of these beautiful bodies of life to share, so we’ve got to start showing her we care… afterall 70% of the oxygen we breathe comes from the marine plants that she gives life to.

That’s why it was so damn special that the Scavenge was part of Manly’s annual Ocean Care Day. A celebration of all things marine.

On Sunday we got to hang out with just some of the incredible people and bubbling bodies of energy behind awesome efforts combating marine debris pollution, leading the cash-for-container campaign and just doing anything and everything to keep our environment out of human-harms way as possible.

The Scavenge was set-up down at the Southern Stage alongside SO Manly and Plastic Pollution Solutions. We had Captain Plastic leading some very interesting trivia… Did you know that a polyester fleece is made from100% plastic? Maybe go for wool next time hey.

We had a pretty epic day. Over 100 volunteers got involved as well as countless stoked little kids. An amazing team of Scavenge volunteers helped to sort through 62.72kg of litter, 20.79kg of which was able to be recycled. And they definitely were amazing… each and every Scavenge would not be what it is without these legends in green!

 

We were even separating plastic bottles on behalf of the Sealife Trust to be used as the building materials for a boat aimed to compete the bridge to bay race next February. So thanks to Tim and Rhi for collecting a dozen to keep these guys afloat… they’ve scored a double pass to some free board hire at Aloha Surf Manly.

Another lucky fella with a double pass to board hire at Aloha Surf Manly is Steve. He managed to rescue 9 coffee cups before they went sailing out to sea. Considering there are 1 million coffee cups used every day in Sydney the unfortunate reality is that a lot of them do end up there, plastic lids and all.

There’s nothing like a butt challenge to get everyone down on the sand eyes peeled for those pesky toxic bombs. Over the day we counted 4,166 but there definitely would’ve been more. There was some fierce competition with our winner having conducted 3 individual cleanups to ensure herself first place. Congratulations to Elaine for collecting 520 butts, definitely a well-deserved winner of the 4 Pines Brewery Tour for herself and 3 friends.

By far the oddest and potentially most toxic item pulled in on Sunday was by Olivia and Marie. The owner of it clearly missed the memo that E-cigarettes are actually re-usable but unfortunately like most smokers felt the need to leave it behind in the sand. Good find guys, enjoy your $100 voucher to Daniel San Manly!

With all this hard work, the beach was actually looking pretty clean so people were having to scavenge far and wide to fill their bags. Ricardo and Melissa took on the challenge and made it around to the headland to pull bottles from the shrubbery and for that have scored themselves a $50 voucher to The Plant Room Manly.

Many photos captured the day’s antics but it was Cyn Coco that did it best. She creatively crafted some little guys out of some beach litter… love it! She's landed herself the beautiful One Ocean necklace from Spindrift Collections.

There’s a whole lot of work that goes on behind the scenes in preparation for scavenging… primarily all the clothes collection so just want to say big thanks to @MoreTunesLessTrash aka Harriet Spark for all the help. We managed to get about 286kg of clothing donated across Sydney! Thanks to absolutely everyone that cleared their wardrobes to add some items to the racks, they were well appreciated.

But who was it that collected the most litter? Who was it that gets to go on a Scuba Experience with Dive Centre Manly? Oh of course, how could we forget! Out of the 107 volunteers that registered on Sunday the stakes were high and competition fierce but it was Alexander who managed to collect a total of 510 pieces of litter. We very much hope you enjoy your underwater experience! Hopefully much cleaner this time round!

Thanks everyone that came down and got amongst the fun at Ocean Care Day. It was such a wicked start to summer, an awesome debut on the north-side for the Scavenge and simply splendid to come together with a crew of such active individuals on something that we all love and respect; our ocean. To many more, Manly!

 

Last but not least - 259kg!

Last but not least - 259kg!

Saturday morning in Port Macquarie consisted of thick black clouds, long drawn out rumbles of thunder and heavy droplets of water falling from the sky. But with some serious satellite watching underway we managed to give everyone a couple extra hours in bed and started the scavenging action when the sun came out to say hello.

And how happy we were when it did. After all, there was no way the final Scavenge of our east-coast tour could be cancelled. Especially when there was 259kg of litter to be collected. Yep another record broken!!

We had 83 pairs of hands come down and grab a bag. People were scouring the coastline but mostly making their way up the embankments and into the streets around the shores to find hundreds of beer bottles, trolleys, decomposing prams and even the odd Temper Trap CD turned up.

The oddest item however, took the form of a blue piece of foam that had invited a number of oysters to take refuge upon it.  We hope Francine Nunnari can’t wait to get her hands on a pair of handmade Zipporra tights for this golden find.

The biggest effort on the day came from Emily and Nathan’s CrossFit Hijacked team. This crew bought in 66kg of litter between them, so we thought we’d switch the prizes so they can all share some treats and enjoy the view of a clean Town Beach with a $50 voucher to Salty Crew Kiosk.

There were people all over the coast but the scavengers that made it the furthest were Misha and Tahli Du Plessis for making it down to Nobbys Head. Now you can learn some coffee skills at Peak and preach reusable cups with your Cheeki coffee cup guys!!

There’s always someone that gets an eye for ciggies and on Saturday it was Dawn and her friend. They scavenged the parks and gutters for butts finding an impressive 600, contributing to the overall 2247 butts. Now you ladies can treat yourseves to the delicious menu at Port Mac’s newest restaurant; Bills Fish House.

Drinking vessels like plastic bottles and coffee cups are always a big find at the Scavenge which is a shame considering drinking water is of a pretty sublime quality in Australia, and especially with such a rich coffee culture it would’ve been nice if it taught us to carry a cup. At least we had Jarret down there to pick up 83 plastic bottles earning himself a $25 to Social Grounds, and Brett who picked up 43 coffee cups now has a new Cheeki Coffee Cup from PEAK and Boomerang Bag – drink responsibly guys!

Speaking of Boomerang Bags, we hope the first 20 people that got down there on Saturday are now lapping up their stylin’ handmade bags donated by the local sewing legends! We had some fun doing our No-Sew Reusable bag workshops run by the Rhi Rebellion.

If you missed it don’t worry Rhi does a bunch of wicked upcycling workshops at the Rhi Rebellion shed in Port. Actually, the winner of our photo competition @sopherellirose snapped her mate Karen checking in on the trash they collected and now she has herself a golden pass to attend one of these amazing workshops!

It was a pretty marvellous day all in all! We had the wondrous Jackson James treat us with some plucking and strumming magic. Lauren Edwards kept us tapping our toes with funky beats alongside a guest appearance from Jeremy Jestin. And the beautiful duo of Sheldon and Lee-Anne who make up Connecting Souls definitely did just that grounding all our energies with their talented rhythms and vocals. Thank you!

Thanks to Port Macquarie Hastings Council for supporting the Scavenge, as well as the folk from Beach House for donating a bunch of beverages to get everyone cleaning up! 117.3kg of second-hand clothes were also donated by local Port Macquarians… biiiig thank you for filling our racks !

And to the lovely volunteers that patiently waited out the rain to set-up and sorted through 259kg litter on their Saturday morning, so we can contribute to Tangaroa Blue’s Australia wide Marine Debris Database, it would have been nothing without you! 

Windy Days and ONE tonne of Litter!

Windy Days and ONE tonne of Litter!

Despite being swept up in the whirly ways of the wind at Saturdays Newcastle Scavenge it was exciting days! This marked our twelfth Scavenge and we’re pretty stoked that the 41.03kg of litter collected from Merewether and surrounds tipped our scavenge tally into the one tonne realm.

Obviously boasting that we’ve picked up 1020.56kg of trash from beaches across the East Coast has its contradictions. Ideally that litter wouldn’t have been there in the first place and that’s why Seaside Scavenge is as much about trying to change habits as it is about cleaning up the beach.

Changing how you drink your coffee, how you purchase your clothes, how you empty your bin, because it’s actually up to each and every one of us to reduce our waste. When you throw something away unfortunately there isn’t an away, especially when it comes to plastics.

Most of the single-use products we use daily are made from plastic. Plastic is a resource made from oil that takes hundreds if not thousands of years to break down. Yet, it is used in products designed to last just one use or in the case of a plastic bag just 7 minutes.

That’s why we loooove having local legends like Deanne Maree share their upcycling skills at the Scavenge. She braved the winds on Saturday to share her skills in making reusable bags out of old t-shirts, showing anyone how to rethink the way we use stuff!

We’re hugely thankful that so many people donate their pre-loved stuff to get people picking up. To date we have redistributed 1579.46kg of peoples belongings. As well as the multitudes of wicked prizes from local businesses that get passed over to the folk who go that extra yard to pick up.

Sandra Mellos definitely took the cake on Saturday collecting 389 pieces of litter. Hope she can kick back and relax with $100 at Scratchley's On The Wharf. Oscar and his mate were scavenging about all day so we wanted to say thanks for collecting 133 butts by offering them some scrumptious treats to the value of $50 from to Hunter Organics Food.

We had businesses all over Newy going plastic-free with us on Saturday. Big hats off to Hubro, Scotties and Dixon Park Café for going topless on their coffees (lidless!). As well as Merewether Butcher and Darby Street Quality Meats whom took it old school offering only butchers paper. Darby Street generously put up a $25 voucher to the scavenger that collected the most plastic bottles, Mykala Murray we hope you enjoy that!

There sure were some odd items pulled in on Saturday, between mouth guards, chewed up vortexes and hair-ties with Aldi toys attached. But we put it to the people and the water balloon still in tact bought in by Angela and her troop had us all scratching our heads. $150 to Hine McCabe Leather Vintage coming your way!

People were scavenging far and wide on Saturday but Ezra and Nick picked up trash from Merewether down to Leggy Point and back and for they’ve landed themselves a $50 voucher to Momo Café.

Last but never least is all the creative snaps that get taken on the day. Thanks to everyone that got in the vibe and tagged #seasidescavenge, there was one snap with a caption to match that we think couldn’t have been phrased any better… thanks @iswaldcobblepot !! See more snaps from the day here.

Thanks to all our entertainment, the wicked VanderAa brothers brewed up a storm of sounds. Jennie Phillips from www.alifestylelessplastic.com shared her hints and tips on how to avoid straws, coffee cups and to cut the convenience from plastics. Mel from Take3 and Bri from Surfrider let us know how and where to get involved in Newy, so look ‘em up if you’re looking for regular cleanups.

Of course the volunteers, many of whom came up from Sydney to lend a hand, thank you, thank you, thank you… as always nothing would happen without you. We hope you enjoyed a wind-down at The Beach Hotel… thanks to these guys our trash currency worked in the real world… trash for beers, the way of the future!

 

Taking it Riverside!

Taking it Riverside!

Our first Riverside Scavenge took place on Saturday and let’s just say some places are harder to crack than others…but crack em’ we will!

We had 40 souls scavenge the riverbeds and parks of Kangaroo Point for litter. Mark Harvey was down there from 5:30am collecting trolley after trolley of everything from giant chunks of foam to nappies to old brollies. Overall we managed to total 72.57kg of litter, which included 18.83kg of recycling.

Even though the number of scavengers wasn’t high, the quality was well there. We had people from all over but the best part was that for over 90% of them it was their first cleanup. But what’s even more important than cleaning up is the experience.

When it comes down to it, we could all cleanup for the rest of our lives and unfortunately it wouldn’t make a huge difference in the grand scheme of things. Daily, we’re just producing too much waste. What needs to change is the way we view waste and to come to terms with our individual responsibility to not produce it where possible.

It’s a massive challenge, we know. But that’s why we’re doing it together! Each and every scavenger that comes and gets their hands dirty sees first hand the straws, the coffee cups, the plastic bags, the plastic bottles and the butts… If collectively we can reduce our use of these items in particular that’s a pretty wicked start!

And start we will. Mel Glover was absolutely stoked on the Lone Pine Koala Sanctuary prize and set out collecting butts to ensure her cuddly creature experience… Well Mel you’re butt hunting paid off, amazing effort with 485! Thank you.

There were some funky snaps taken, but there was no looking past Moose getting some love in the Scavenge frame. These legends saw us from the ferry and came to check out the Scavenge vibes. Thanks to @James.Wyld and his lady friends for picking up a whole heap of trash!

It was tough going awarding these prizes with Mark’s hours of cleaning efforts. We’re unbelievably appreciative of his contribution, but we wanted to give the biggest haul to two new keen beans in the cleanup world, Natalie Davis and James Martin. They scavenged their hearts out for the most butts prize but with Mel around there was no chance. Buuut they did an unreal job collecting 267 pieces of litter overall, and have won themselves an annual double pass to the Gold Coast theme parks.

Riverlife Brisbane jumped behind the Scavenge by donating a couple double passes to get involved with any of their adventures. So we’re stoked that Dominique Macedo snagged the most coffee cups, @James.Wyld grabbed the best snap and Mark scavenged the farthest cause now they can lap up some river ventures with a mate!

Max Rattier and his lady pal did a pretty wicked job. They didn’t even want to put their name to their tally but we got them in the end. They thankfully picked up a whole heap of plastic bottles which has earnt them a private Gondola ride on the Wheel of Brissy for 6 peeeps!

Some funny items rolled in on Saturday but there were no stand-outs so we thought this awesome 5 x pass to Harlow Hot Yoga would be much appreciate by the two lovely ladies in the frame with Moose as they did use him to sniff out butts!

It was a dandy day all-in-all.  The weather man got it wrong, sun there was. Accompanied by one epic crew of volunteers that popped their Scavenge cherry and the music was top notch as always. Huge amounts of love and thanks to Asha Jefferies, Clare Cowley and Tay Oskee for their contribution, and must say special thanks to Asha for her patience with our temporary bike generator mal-function… it happens!

The no-sew reusable bag workshop was a pick of the day thanks to Caitlin from Wild Search Byron Bay. Leah-Jane Musch, aka The Unmaterial Girl shared her tips on how to live the slow fashion lifestyle. And of course the Pineapple Hotel for donating those thirst quenching schooners for the scavengers that needed a refreshment.

Last but not least, thanks to all the people that generously donated they’re second-hand threads, we had 107kg on the racks, and a bunch of it has traveled south for this weekends Newcastle scavenge. SO thank you, thank you, thank you we’re looking forward to a bigger and better one next time Brissy, stay peeled for us!!

Check out snaps here.