Seaside Scavenge Byron Bay

It was definitely worth making our way north to debut Seaside Scavenge in Byron working alongside Positive Change for Marine Life. We’re hard pressed thinking of a single way we could’ve made it any better with record numbers all round – most participants, best prizes, most clothes donated and obviously the important one; the largest haul of rubbish yet at a Scavenge.

We managed to pull in 110.4kg of trash in just 4 hours… so there’s definitely pats on the back deserved all round! We had everything from old shoes to concrete filled and barnacle covered tyres being dragged up the beach and traded in for tokens.

Just some quick figures for the day:

- 233 glass bottles

- 564 metal bottle caps

- 264 plastic bottle caps

- 114 coffee cups

- 131 items of clothing

- 189 straws and cutlery

- 3386 cigarette butts!!!!

Yes, 3386 cigarette butts and most likely a whole lot more were plucked from the sand, from between rocks, from the gutter, from the parks and benches. Insane that people could flick away standing on the shores of Byron’s beautiful Main Beach, right? Especially considering how damaging they are.

On average one cigarette butt contaminates the surrounding 50L of water – which is the equivalent to a bathtub full of water. This means that we potentially saved a staggering 169,808L of the ocean from being contaminated with toxins and a lot of our stunning marine life from having to filter it through their system. 

If this gets you as riled up as it does us, then next time you see someone flick their butt, try and muster the courage to pick it up in front of them, pop it in the bin and pass on that little fact. It’s a small and challenging thing to do, but the potential to convert that ‘tosser’ to think twice next time, is definitely worth it.

There was a lot of converting to plastic-less lifestyles going on with the inspiring and practical filled talks from local mermaid, Kate Nelson and wildlife ecologists, Caitlin Weatherstone. It’s amazing to think that we’ve easily accustomed to our lives being so plastic coated!

A few simple tips they shared to cut down your plastic purchase; choose the fruit and veg that isn’t wrapped in plastic, ask the bartender to not place a straw in your drink and give yourself 10 minutes to eat your lunch at the café rather than get it in a plastic container accompanied by a plastic knife and fork (same goes for coffee!).

All these little things can make a big difference. As we learnt at Caitlin and Anna Weatherstone’s ‘No-sew bag workshop’, with just a pair of scissors, an old t-shirt and 10 minutes there’s some pretty creative ways to craft a re-usable shopping bag. We had all the kids and adults in under our onion tent (leant to us by legends Nat and Dan from Clean Coast Collective) crafting away and learning some easy ways to be less plastic dependent.

The local musicians, David Ely, Steve Manoa and Lucy Gallant, set the pace for some scavenging action and ensured that we were all tapping our toes as we traded! These guys donated their talents for the day, as Seaside Scavenge is completely run on a volunteer basis… so a huuuuuge thank you! 

We depend on donations of clothing and second-hand goods for the Scavenge to happen. So it’s pretty darn awesome that we had books and bags and scarves and shoes from people in communities from Wollongong, inner-city Sydney, Newcastle and of course Byron. Just goes to show it’s pretty easy to share our stuff between us rather than wasting time, money and the resources that go into it again.

We couldn’t do it without the local businesses jumping on board to donate wicked prizes for all the wacky categories we create for the day. Ben Nichols managed to scavenge the weirdest item of rubbish which ended up being a 50kg concrete and barnacle filled tyre, which has won himself a $50 voucher for the Beach Hotel. 

The best Instagram snap goes to Veronica Howard! She captured herself and her 2 year-old-daughter, Daisy, after they picked up 240 cigarette butts… And for that she has won herself a voucher to The Farm for a box of fresh produce, flower arranging, fresh bread from Bread Social and a tour of The Farm. 

We had an extraordinary effort put in by a gentleman called Ron who started his scavenge around 7am, he managed to pick up almost a fifth of the rubbish from the entire day with 18kg! And for his keen as a bean attitude he has a well-deserved voucher for $150 at Three Blue Ducks to put in his pocket. 

MK and Solaine Douglas must’ve had an eye for butts because they managed to pull in over 300 each! They definitely earned the chance to go check out some of the Sea Turtles they saved on a snorkel tour with Dive Centre Byron Bay.

Caspar scavenged the most plastic beverage bottles scoring a $50 voucher for an intro package at Creature Yoga. Have fun getting your stretch on! David managed to find 11 coffee cups in one go, and for that has landed himself a tour of Stone & Wood Brewery and some beers. And Solenn scavenged the furthest out of everyone, making her way to Wategos, and for that she’s got herself a $50 voucher for Beach Hotel.

Seaside Scavenge is just about bringing our skills and goods together with new and old friends to share our stuff, have some fun and do some good. We love collaborating local groups like Positive Change for Marine Life, so thanks for lending your hands guys! We’re stoked all the Byron crew took a shinning to the Scavenge, we’ll be back after winter to keep spreading an awareness for cleaner oceans, so keep an eye on Facebook and the Seaside Scavenge website.

Anna Jane Linke