There’s no time to waste. Our window to bring waste, rising temperatures, deforestation and everything else into the political spotlight is closing. As stress provoking as this is, I found that the only way to respond was with action. Looking for a new way to engage with people I founded and continue to develop and grow Seaside Scavenge.

I truly believe that people, once made aware and given the right approach can be activated. My motivation comes from trying to figure out what those approaches and triggers are for different audiences, and incorporating them into fun and positive solutions.

I avoid the doom and gloom because I know that is not what motivates people. I focus on connecting people, businesses, musicians and local governments using an unconventional approach. I do this through a for-purpose organisation I founded in 2015 called the Seaside Scavenge.

Back then, I set out trying to figure out a way to get to the broader demographic; people who had never attended a clean-up event, down at their local waterway and picking up the litter from its shore. I approached the issue by tapping into the booming interest in thrift shopping and the general love of music.

I started hosting waterway clean-up events where litter collected from local waterways becomes a currency in a pop-up market to purchase pre-loved clothes and goods that have been donated by the local community. Alongside performances by local musicians, there are talks and stalls hosted by local community groups working in waste reduction and environmental conservation.

Up-cycled bottle caps are now currency for Seaside Scavenge's events.

Token Currency

Since 2014, I’ve invested my heart into Seaside Scavenge, working for two years on a voluntary basis and working part-time in a flower market to keep it going. I organised an East-Coast Scavenge tour in 2016, which meant I lived out of a van (that I built myself with scavenged wood) and travelled the coast running these events on a string of small community grants.

‘War On Waste’ aired in 2017 and made it possible to turn the Seaside Scavenge into a full-time gig. From local council funding to the Taronga Zoo Green Grant, I’ve tirelessly worked to get the Seaside Scavenge happening in over 37 communities across Australia and the globe, including Cape Town, SA.

Last year I formed a voluntary Board of Directors to help guide the strategy of the Scavenge and to identify where our energy is best invested to have the biggest impact. This year we employed our first full time employee to assist in coordinating many of the events.

In the past four years Seaside Scavenge have hosted 53 events that have inspired over 5,785 participants in 37 communities across Australia and the globe to remove 10,850kg of litter and 162,142 cigarette butts as well as redistribute 7,931kg of second-hand goods.

SeaSide Scavenge sorting through the collected rubbish.

What sets Seaside Scavenge apart from other marine debris organisations is that 82% of the participants had never previously attended a clean-up event. We’re reaching the unconverted and unaware. This is crucial in bringing about behavioural change in the convenience culture filled society in which we find ourselves.

Seaside Scavenge is currently looking to diversify the audience it educates about waste streams and has set its sights on hosting tailored workshops for Corporates. To get this happening, we’re looking for corporates who are keen to provide their employees with a meaningful experience that gets them connected with themselves, each other and the planet.

We have also realised that we cannot possibly deliver the number of Scavenges needed nor wanted in communities across the globe. That is why we’re piloting the ‘Spring Into Scavenge’ program this September 2019. This is an opportunity for individuals or community groups all over the globe to apply to run a Scavenge in their local community and get some hands-on support from me to pull it off.

Seaside Sacvengers smiling after a hard days work by the beach.

Seaside Scavenge aims to curb the behaviour that sends six-tonnes of textiles to landfill every ten-minutes here in Australia. The kind of unconscious consumerism that causes this can be cured by increased education and awareness around the impacts waste generation create for us, other creatures and the environment.

Waste is something almost every human creates. Whether it be plastic waste, textile waste, electric waste, construction waste, the list goes on. Waste is tangible. Through the efforts of Seaside Scavenge we will continue to educate, empower and inspire people across the globe to act on waste reduction and create change collectively.

Find out more about Seaside Scavenge and local events near you now by heading to:

#ExperienceIsEverything | #PaddyPallin

About The Author

Anna Jane Linke

Anna Jane Linke is the founder & CEO of Seaside Scavenge, a not-for-profit organisation which educates communities and businesses about marine debris and textile waste using a fun and unique approach that inspires participation to clean-up the ocean. Our vision is to empower people globally to eliminate waste entering the ocean.

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