Trash Instead of Cash

22 Nov 2017 Trash Instead of Cash

This November at Maroubra Beach, Sydney, a beach clean with Seaside Scavenge turned litter into a currency.

Huh? Say what?

Pick up little litter and use it to purchase pre-loved clothes and goods (donated by the community) plus beers from The Bay Hotel & Diner.

To earn litter currency, people have to separate litter into recyclables and non-recyclables. It is then recorded in the Australia Marine Debris Database of Tangaroa Blue. Every 10 pieces of litter earns a trash token, which is the “currency” in a pop-up seaside market. 250 kg of donated clothes, books and more were on ‘sale’. For 20 pieces of litter you could also earn a drink at The Bay Hotel & Diner.

“Despite rain and drizzly weather, over 100 people showed up and 84% of them had never attended a clean-up!” - Anna Jane Linke

The Sea Life Trust and Randwick City Council supported the Scavenge which had 108 participants. 306.2 kg of litter was collected, including at least 3,281 cigarette butts, 2,980 pieces of soft plastic packaging, 1,218 pieces of styrofoam and 120 kg of recycling.

The Underwater Research Group led by Rianti Bieler, organised an underwater clean-up of Bare Island at La Perouse collecting 333.5kg.

“Every 10 minutes, Australians send 6 tonnes of textiles to landfill, so a pop-up market of donated goods encourages people to look beyond the price tag and go second-hand" - Anna Jane Linke

Top Left: Anna Jane sorting litter with Libby, Noah, Elloise and Lachlan. 

Top Right: Weirdest items collected

Bottom: Local Maroubra Scavengers


Local businesses, Let’s Go Surfing, Vital Element Massage, WAMH Fitness, and Collaborative Maroubra donated prizes for participants that collected the most litter. One family collected a mammoth 1,050 pieces, and scored a 4-week unlimited yoga pass to Yogala.

Music and electricity were provided by a bike-powered generator, peddled by volunteers. Allowing musicians, Grace Brown, Matt Stacey and Billsbry (aka Charlie Fisher) to take the stage. There were talks from Eva Kiss of Responsible Runners and Aleysha Campbell from The Helm Society (sustainable clothing).

The Scavenge encourages local businesses to take the Plastic-Free Pledge for the day, committing to avoiding single-use items like straws, cups, food-containers, bottles and plastic bags and offers coffee drinkers a 50c discount for bringing their own mugs.

A spread of local Maroubra Cafés took the pledge on the day:

The Grumpy Baker – no bags
Pavilion Beachfront – no coffee lids, no straws, no bags
Beverage Depot – no bags, 50c off coffee for takeaway customer
Zeebra Café – no straws
The North EndC afé – no straws, no lids
Flamez Eatery – no takeaway containers
Chalk Espresso – no plastic bags
Marini Café– no plastic bags

Since March 2015, Seaside Scavenge has run 25 successful events between Mornington Peninsula and Magnetic Island attracting more than 2,100 people to collect over 4,500 kg of litter, including 60,000 cigarette butts and have diverted more than  3,000 kg of second-hand goods from landfill.


Anna Jane Linke - Founder and CEO Seaside Scavenge

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