Coogee Trash Trade

Despite the weather app playing mind-games with us all week, we had a beautiful day of sun and blue sky. We could’ve even done with a few extra clouds to keep tour hardworking ‘scavengers’ cool as they were out scouring Coogee Beach for litter. Everything from ciggie butts to nappies and maccas chips were pulled from the beach. It was a legendary effort hauling in over 135kg of litter from the beach, park and headlands,.

This time round we shook up the traditional scavenge set-up and threw together a sorting station. This was where all the action happened. We asked our ‘scavengers’ to work that little bit harder and asked them to help separate the litter they picked up into recyclables and non-recyclables.

We used the Tangaroa Blue date sheet throughout the day so we could tally our final hauls on certain items. It would also mean our hard work would go towards making bigger changes thanks to the awesome work that Tangaroa do monitoring the impacts of marine debris on our coastline and lobbying business to change habits.

We’re stoked to let you know over 5 hours with roughly 100 hands on deck we collected 7781 cigarette butts, 297 plastic lids, 557 plastic bottles, 118 glass bottles and 1364 metal bottle caps along with thousands of little pieces plastic, styrofoam, foil and paper. 

We had a sweep of rad prizes donated by local businesses to be awarded for the biggest efforts!

Dan Wheble takes the cake for picking up the most ciggie butts. He managed to grab a whopping 1400! For all you smokers that just do the flick, have a think about this guy hands on knees combining the sand for your goods. Dan, you’ve saved a potential 70 000L of water being contaminated with ciggie toxins. And for this my friend you deserve to un-wind for and hour and a half at Sangs Thai Massage Randwick.

Zoe MacFarlane managed to grab the most amount of miscellaneous items with a total of 469 pieces. For this back breaking work we thought you deserved to treat yourself at Touch Up salon to some hair treatment valued at $50!

We got some weird things from the beach on Sunday and thought we should award the wackiest one! From a Spanish love letter to a cousin tied to a broken balloon, to chicken fillets, to red back spiders, it was tough competition. But there was no overlooking the incredible salvage of a giant bean-bag in amongst the rocks at the north-end ready to spill hundreds-of-thousands of styrofoam beans into the ocean. For that gold-mine of a catch Lucas - for whom we have no last name but rather a group name ‘The Strokes’ for which we presume was his group of heroic helpers - we hope that you enjoy a voucher of $50 to Little Jack Horner.

Despite our troubles with hosting amplified sounds our beautiful performers, Ainsley Farrell and the Kingfishers Wife, did a spectacular job at soothing our ears. Thanks ladies! Dean McLelland, co-founder of Responsible Runners gave us the run-down of local plastic bag bans, cash for containers campaigns and a whole lot of interesting facts about marine debris awareness. As did the inspiring Erin from The Rogue Ginger, who came all the way from Melbourne to share her tales and tips on a zero waste lifestyle!

The beers from Coogee Pavilion went down a treat, so a huge thanks to them for getting behind the cause. Wouldn’t have been made possible if it wasn’t for the awesome Harriet Spark from More Tunes Less Trash for lining that sweet deal up, cheers! To all you caring folk that emptied your wardrobes and gave your goods to be traded for trash… well it’s as simple as the scavenge wouldn’t happen without you, so thank you for your generosity! 

The Responsible Runners crew who did an epic job helping us out all day being the experts on separating litter, and who even did another clean once we were all packed up! Thank you all for your energy, particularly Richie So who was core to getting this trash trade off the ground. 

But the people that make it happen each and every time are the Seaside Scavenge volunteers. These crazy folk that can’t resist getting their hands dirty for no other reason than cleaning up the beach, you’ve helped haul in hundreds-of-kilos of rubbish over the past year. And the event simply wouldn’t happen without you… so thanks to the moon and back, you’re all bloody incredible!

Anna Jane Linke