Founder of WasteWise Consulting Shelli van Santen at last year's Coffs Creek Seaside Scavenge.
Founder of WasteWise Consulting Shelli van Santen at last year's Coffs Creek Seaside Scavenge. Leanne Cheal

Trading trash for treasure at Sawtell

OFFERING the chance to purchase goods with trash - literally - as the currency, Seaside Scavenge is a unique concept, which has taken off since it's humble beginnings three years ago.

This weekend marks the third ever Seaside Scavenge event to take place on the Coffs Coast, this time in Sawtell.

The Scavenge is a waterway clean-up and market where litter collected becomes the currency to purchase pre-loved clothes, books and bric-a-brac donated by the local community.

For every 10 pieces of litter, participants are rewarded with a token to use in the pop-market.

For every 20 pieces of litter, participants will earn themselves a drink from the Sawtell RSL.

Participants will sort and catalogue data for the Australian Marine Debris Database alongside volunteers from the local community including Plastic Wise Coffs Harbour, Plastic Pollution Solutions and The Plastic Collective.

At the last event in Coffs Harbour, which took place at Coffs Creek, a total of 444.5kg of litter was collected.

According to the not-for-profit, it is estimated participants pick up an average of 114kg of litter per event, which equates to the permanent removal of 17 cars from the roads.

Over the past three years, with more than 30 events taking place, around 118,276 cigarettes butts and 6,467kg of litter has been saved from washing into waterways.

"The scavenge is about having fun while doing something good for waterways and our planet,” Director, Anna Jane said.

"Come along and be a part of the solution to the impact of litter, especially plastics, have on our marine environments.

"You can also find out which local cafes and restaurants have taken the Scavenge plastic-free pledge to remove plastic straws from their businesses and offer discounts on BYO cups.

"It is estimated Australians use 2.9 billion plastic straws every year. Some of our local businesses are helping to reduce that.”

Sawtell businesses The Hilltop Store, Open Air Picnics, Mindless Float and Relaxation and Natural Balance Yoga have donated prizes for those who collect the most litter, the most cigarette butts and the weirdest item, to name a few.

Local musicians will also be performing on the day, which is this Saturday, August 25.

Registration will begin at 10am until 1.30pm.

The market and registry will be located at the Sawtell Surf Life Saving Club.

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