Sawtell Seaside Scavenge

The Friday evening before the Scavenge the much-needed storm finally broke and treated us to thunder and downpours all night. The deluge stopped just before sunrise, when the sun poked out from behind the clouds, soon followed by endless blue sky.

Thankfully the rain returned later that afternoon, but for a brief interlude we were able to Scavenge under sunny skies. Either way we weren’t too worried as the legends, Sheena, Leanne and Bruce from the Sawtell SLSC, had kindly offered us the use of their spacious club room anyway.

This was significant in itself as it marked the first time Seaside Scavenge has successfully collaborated with a local surf club. Yeah, we can’t believe it’s taken this long either. We thought the community aspect of surf clubs and the message of the Scavenge would align on many fronts, but to date clubs haven’t expressed the faintest interest in being involved.

Thankfully, Sawtell was different.

This vibing coastal hub is nestled just south of Coffs and has a bundle of local businesses and proactive people who we were stoked to link up with thanks to the support from Coffs Harbour City Council.

Shelli Van Santen being one of them. She was down at the Scavenge under the pseudonym, Bin Girl, hosting a waste separation challenge.  Kids and adults alike were educated by sorting through a delicately crafted pile of rubbish into waste, recycling, redcycle (soft plastics) and compost.

Casey Cook aka Lazy Girl Green is a local Sawtell resident who has created a business based on selling non-toxic and plastic-free DIY beauty products. She shared her inspiration with Anthony from Plastic Pollution Solutions who was MC’ing all day long.

For our third Coffs Coast Scavenge in a year, we had a committed bunch of volunteers on the Green Team. They cheerfully assisted over 90 scavengers sort and separate 198.5kg of trash into recycling and waste and catalogue the data for Tangaroa Blue’s Marine Debris Database.

Interestingly and unfortunately, a lot of the glass and plastic bottles, cans, and other normally recyclable items bought through the sorting station were so contaminated with sand and dirt that we only ended up with 14.5kg of recycling that could go the Coffs Coast Recycling Centre.

The beach itself was fairly clean and the streets around it too. There were less than 1,000 butts collected throughout the event, 350 of which were collected by Cheona – scoring herself a $50 to Natural Balance Yoga.

Most of the junk came from the bushland between the beach and the main street. There was everything from couches to scrap metal pulled out of there. But something we’ve never come across before was a pair of Pentax Binoculars! Leroy and Audrey were the people behind this find and have scored themselves a $40 voucher to Open Air Picnics.

From the local community we had over 150kg of pre-loved stuff donated and set-up in our pop-up market. We also had 50 beer, wine and sodas up for grabs from the Sawtell RSL which were much appreciated by our Scavengers!

One last thing that we thought might make you laugh. We were super thankful for our bike powered generator as there was a blackout all the way from Coffs to Taree. So if it wasn’t for our cyclists we would’ve missed out hearing from the talented local musos; Grace McDonald and Annelise Rachel!

Looking forward to the next one Coffs Coast, thanks for having us!


Anna Jane Linke