Saturday held a lot of firsts and surprises for the Scavenge:

The first lakeside Scavenge.

The first inland event with a population less than 10,000.

The first time we’ve EVER had to do a run to the tip mid-Scavenge (more on that later).

Jindabyne is a town nestled in the valley of the Snowy Mountains with a big man-made lake. In the warmer months it is home to around 3,000 people but when winter settles in, the town swells to hold around 25-30,000 seasonal folk.

As with any seasonal town there’s a tricky balance to be found between tourism, money-making and respect for the area. The response we saw at Saturday’s Scavenge was clearly a long awaited opportunity for the community to get together and clean up after yet another winter of trashing.

The balance appears to be out.

Over 750kg of litter was collected in just 3 hours from all over Jindabyne. Needless to say, we were completely unprepared for that amount of litter.

We have hosted 21 events from Townsville through to Mornington Peninsula and at all except 1 we have managed to fit all the litter into 7 wheelie bins.

It was just an hour and a half into the Lakeside Scavenge when Jim Crocker and Tyler generously offered their truck to take the first load of the tip. They weighed in with 60kg of waste and 40kg of recycling.

In the half an hour they were gone, the remaining 2 x 340L bins were overflowing, The cue at the sorting station was only growing and the quantity of litter being collected increasing. People were coming in with ute loads full!

Over the 3 hours we had 120 kids, adults and grand-parents roll through the event with at least a full bag each (if not 5 bags), packed to the brim with everything from food packaging to bongs and bottles.

The majority of items collected were beer bottles and cans which is no surprise as these line the streets of Jindabyne most Thursday and Sunday mornings. So a suggestion of bins near the pubs could be a good place to start. (And a non-judgemental eye from the security guys on the door to whomever places an empty vessel in there.)

Hannah Pembroke persevering after 2.5hour sorting litter!

The wind is definitely a factor to include in this tale. Since, a lot of this rubbish was attributed to wheelie bins knocked over by the gusts on garbage collection day, can we not across the Snowy Region start to use bin clips, to keep the bin lid down?

Even if it does take the garbage man an extra 30 seconds to remove, surely for the sake of a cleaner town we could make the change.

Regardless of all that the best part is that 750+kg of rubbish is no longer lying around Jindabyne. Whether it was influenced by the 100 beers donated by the Banjo or the 120+kg of pre-loved stuff in our pop-up market or even the spread of generous prizes from businesses around town or even more likely just the urge from locals to tidy-up their town, we are absolutely stoked to have helped!

All the volunteers who scoured through 560+kg of litter before we ran out of bins, a masssssive thank you! The talented musicians, Kahli Henley, Jade Locke, Scott Harris and Paul James whom kept the good vibes coming all day—It wouldn’t have been anything without you. And the talks from Belinda Ingram from Council, Huw Kingston from Plastic-Bottle Free Bundanoon, Susan Shelley from Boomerang Bags and Sheri Dust from The Market Jindabyne, we appreciated your insights into all aspects of reducing single-use plastics in our daily lives.

Talking of which, three local businesses including The Market Jindabyne, Jindy Juice Bar and CBD café also took our Plastic-Free Pledge on the day of the Scavenge. They took this opportunity to not serve straws, to go ‘topless’ on coffees (no lids) and to offer 50c discounts to takeaway customers with their own mug. Thank you for taking the plunge, over 450 single-use plastic items were avoided on the day. We hope to have even more venues registering for the pledge next year!

On that note, the Scavenge intends to return next year bigger and better. If you’ve got any ideas on just how to do that, then get in touch. Until then, thank you Jindabyne for being a record-breaking town not just in litter but in community spirit!

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