Traveling Trash Troupe Debut in Coffs Harbour

There’s been so much happening on the Scavenge front that it’s been hard to find a moment to sit down and recap on our first Traveling Trash Troupe. Seaside Scavenge has recently teamed up with Boomerang Bags and Plastic Pollutions Solutions to create a package of good vibes, education and action on waste reduction.

It’s been a wild ride getting to this point and we couldn’t be more over the moon that Coffs Harbour City Council were the first to jump behind it. Special shout out to Leanne Cheal and Shelli van Santen for being our backbone through it all.

One of our key focuses is on single-use plastics education for younger generations. And who better to do that than Anthony Hill from Plastic Pollution Solutions. This guy has dedicated the last 5 years to telling as many people as possible about the pollution that ends up in our big blue. He travels around in his beloved van Bev, and hosts epic presentations and trivia comps all over Australia.

Of course, this was no different… Except we got to tag along too and spiel some Seaside Scavenge goodness! We hung out with years 4, 5 and 6 at Coffs Harbour Primary School and Mullaway Primary. It was such a treat to work with these youngsters, clean-up their playgrounds and (hopefully) inspire them to be plastic-free warriors of the future.

Anthony Hill doing what he does best!

Anthony Hill doing what he does best!

And that was just the beginning of the fun. The next day we jumped in on the Boomerang Bags Gathering which bought together established BB groups from the area. The discussion was led by founders Tania and Jordyn and we touched on everything from sewing techniques to strategies for collaboration and future ventures to create change and connection in the wider Coffs community… The passion and enthusiasm was radiating from the room!

Then it was time for some Scavenging action on the Sunday! Thanks to the legendary Kim Towner who is igniting plastic-free action all over Coffs, we set-up down at her Harbourside Markets along the Coffs Creek.

The early start didn’t deter any of our Scavengers! We had people of all ages signing up from 8am on the dot and heading out in all directions. The sweet sounds of Pat Tierney kicked the sorting station into gear and we were well underway.

Throughout the day there was everything from computer hard-drives to Viagra pills found around the place. We had a bundle of wicked prizes that were up for grabs:

·      $50 at Supply Specialty Coffee and Joco cup from Bluebottle Brasserie for MOST LITTER went to Heather with 521 pieces

·      $50 at Café Treeo and Joco cup from Bottle Brasserie for MOST BUTTS went to Leon and Lin with 900+ butts

·      $50 at Twenty 46 and Joco Cup from Bluebottle Brasserie for the WEIRDEST ITEM went to Isabel with the hard-drive

·      $50 at Split Café for MOST STRAWS went to Anna with 20 straws

·      $50 at Palate&Ply for FURTHEST SCAVENGED went to Sienna and Ruby who scavenged all the way down to Boambee!

Lin and Leon's butt haul!

Lin and Leon's butt haul!

We had Jetty Dive organise an underwater clean-up of the Jetty during the morning and provide free air tank refills for all the divers... so epic! These eco warriors pulled 100’s of metres of fishing wire, tyres and even a rusted out and barnacled bike from the water!

The Jetty Dive Crew

The Jetty Dive Crew

Then there were all the amazing cafés and restaurants that took our Plastic-Free Pledge. This committed them to avoiding at least ONE single-use item on the day. We had an overwhelming response from local businesses from Sawtell to Woolgoolga:

·      Taffy’s – Topless on coffees (no lids)

·      Twenty46 – No straws

·      Barista Bar – Strawless and lidless!

·      Supply Speacialty Coffee and Bar – No straws (replaced with stainless steel!)

·      Split Café and Espresso Bar – No Straws

·      Happy Frog – ‘Topless’ on coffees (no lids)

·      Ground Earth – No straws and 50c discount on coffees in reusable cups       

We received some smile worthy feedback from café owners about the reception of the pledge. Of course, there were still customers that needed those little conveniences but there were over 350 straws and coffee lids saved from landfill on the day. No small feat!  Thank you to these businesses for giving this campaign a platform.

Then of course a big shout-out to Darren at Element Bar for donating a 100 drink tokens that could be purchased for just 20 pieces of litter! A well earnt thirst quenching beverage was much appreciated by all.

We had over 184kg of second-hand goods donated by the wider Coffs community. The fast-fashion industry is the second-most polluting industry to coal and has devastating effects on our environment from landfill to water contaminated by dyes and the rest of it. Recycling between friends and repurposing our stuff is the best way to divert it from landfill.

Over the day we collected 195kg of litter including 53kg of recycling and 2,693 cigarette butts.  There were 150 people that helped bring it all in and over 80% of these people had never attended a clean-up, so a massive thanks to everyone for all their help.

The biggest pats on backs has to go to our awesome team of volunteers separating and sorting litter into recyclables and non-recycables all day long… The Scavenge wouldn’t even be possible without these special people.


Best news of all, is we’re back for Coffs Sustainable Living Festival on 18th of November. So see you all again for some more change-making action!



Anna Jane Linke