25th Scavenge in Coffs!

We’re all about the trash, the tunes and the treasure at the Scavenge, and Saturdays Creekside Scavenge was all of that and more! We were stoked to be part of the local Council’s Sustainable Living Festival in Coffs Harbour where the likes of OKA performed a seriously funkilicious fusion of roots, Dreamtime and electro.

It was our first creek-side event and we were intrigued to see what would be scavenged. The Friends of Coffs Creek Landcare group host a regular clean-up of the area, so we teamed up with them to hit the litter hotspots they’d discovered. We were very glad to have their hands on board as our core Scavenge team was on the small side!

The creek wraps its way around the showground, with mangroves connecting the land and the water. At least 100 people helped us collect 444.5kg of rubbish from the banks of the creek, (which is our second biggest haul ever!). Sadly, we couldn’t even get the brunt of it as it was high tide, so the bases of the mangroves (where most of the litter collects) was underwater.

Not to mention that whilst many of the items collected were glass and plastic bottles, only 40kg could be recycled as most of it was too caked with mud! That meant only 2 of the 13 wheelie bins full of litter were yellow and the other 11 were red.

Just 100m up stream the creek runs directly under the A1 highway which became pretty apparent when every haul included food packaging and plastic bottles. Surprisingly though, our cigarette butt count was minute… less than 100 butts in 4 hours! This was a clear indication that the beaches – where we collect SO many butts – have a much higher concentration of foot traffic which leads to more butts being littered.

We had a 5 class yoga pass for One Conscious Breath Studio up for grabs for the most butts collected… We were very pleased to award it to Silvanna, who collected the most butts with only 15!!

There was some serious commitment shown by our Scavengers on Saturday… Most were more than happy to get muddy and messy for the cause of cleaning up our creek.

We had one family, The Barlcays, clean-up a 100m stretch on the of the opposite bank of the creek and collect 5 full bags of rubbish including 23 toy balls! This was definitely our biggest haul scoring themselves The Happy Frog plastic-wise hamper!

As usual we had an impressive spread of second-hand goods donated, including 119kg of pre-loved threads and countless boxes of books. For those that were after a thirst quenching beverage after all their hard work, they could head over to the Plantation Hotel with drink token in hand (worth: 20 pieces of litter) for a refreshing drink!

There was one item that kept us guessing. Initially we mistook it for wet nappies wrapped in a plastic film, but the more of them we pulled from almost every bag collected, the more apparent it became… Newspapers wrapped in a plastic sleeve that had turned into a soggy mess.

The local Advocate in fact! Clearly these papers get left on the nature strip and wash down the storm water drain, but because of the plastic sleeve they can’t simply break down so they sit in our waterways a heavy bundle of waste. It would be awesome to see the Advocate take responsibility and unslip these papers to reduce the number of them clogging our waterways!

As part of the event we also had a spectrum of cafés and restaurants who had taken the Plastic-Free Pledge for the day…

~ SuplyCoffee – No straws
~ GroundEarth – No straws or take-away food containers
~ SplitCafé – No straws & Topless on Coffees (no lids)
~ BaristaBarCafé – Strawless & Topless on Coffees (no lids)
~ Twenty46 – No straws
~ Club300Bowling&Bar – No straws, no coffee cups

Looking forward to hearing how it went for them!

The weirdest item of the day was a challenge to select…. We had everything from full wallets to 20m long piping to broken boomerangs and bike tyres to choose from. In the end it was the swivel/office chair collected by Amelia Campbell that scored the 3 class yoga pass to the Melting Pot Loft Yoga!

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And that was a wrap for our 25th Scavenge event! Thanks to the volunteers that made it along, the participants for collecting all the litter and the Council for hosting such a spread of DIY and waste awareness event.


Anna Jane Linke