Grant helps community group clean up oceans and waterways

Issued: 18 Mar 2021

Thousands of containers destined for landfill or the waterways around Manly have been diverted to five new donation points created by Ocean Crusaders with a grant of almost $10,000 from the Department of Environment.

The income stream generated from new donation points will also help Ocean Crusaders continue its valuable work of cleaning our waterways and oceans.

Ocean Crusaders founder and managing director Ian Thomson said the group had purchased new bins for the five new collection points at yacht clubs in the Manly area, as well as a trailer to help with the collection of the containers and a lifting device/crane to help load the trailer.

“We’ve been able to purchase bins and signage for the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron, the Wynnum Manly Yacht Club and the Moreton Bay Trailer Boat Club,” he said.

“Also, one of our most useful purchases has been a forklift which means we can now empty the bins into a bulk bag for the Containers for Change program, which reduces handling and makes processing simpler and easier,” he said.

Ocean Crusaders is a charitable organisation, that recently celebrated its 10th birthday, and which specialises in large scale cleaning of waterways.

In 2020, the Ocean Crusaders team removed more than 150,000kgs of rubbish from waterways with the group collecting the equivalent of 470kgs of rubbish every day, pulled from our waterways by volunteers.

“We average a ton a day every time we go out,” Mr Thomson said. “The income we generate from recycling containers, through the government’s Containers for Change program, will help sustain our activities of pulling tons of rubbish from the water,” he said.

The DES small-scale container collection infrastructure grants have been made possible due to the success of the Containers for Change program.

Queenslanders have recycled more than 3 billion containers since the program began and now community groups are seizing the opportunity to create new donation points and a sustainable source of income, thanks to grants from the Department of Environment and Science.

“There are so many positives from this grant and we really want to thank the Department of Environment and Science for the grant. We’re now able to improve our facilities and collect more containers, growing our own sustainable revenue,” Mr Thomson said.

“Also, we have spent the money in our local community, directly benefiting the many local small businesses.”

Minister for the Environment and Great Barrier Reef Meaghan Scanlon said the grants were vital tools that helped small groups to establish a source of income that empowered them to continue the work that directly benefits their local community.

“There are so many positives here – it’s more than win-win; it’s win-win-win,” Ms Scanlon said.

“Firstly, our recycling message is being amplified as local community groups encourage their community to recycle, to support their income stream. This has the direct benefit of reducing litter in local waterways and reducing containers in landfill.

“Secondly, local businesses benefit when the grant is disbursed.

“Thirdly, the good works of the community organisations can continue. In these challenging times, fundraising is becoming more and more difficult. These grants provide vital incomes that allow small community groups to continue to help those in need,” Ms Scanlon said.

Almost $1 million in small-scale infrastructure grants of up to $10,000 each has been given to about 100 charities and community groups for the purpose of buying equipment that would support the creation of donation points.

The State Government’s Containers for Change scheme is operated by not-for-profit organisation Container Exchange (COEX) and CEO Ken Noye said he was delighted to see even more community groups maximise their involvement with the scheme.

“We know that community groups have really struggled this year as many of their regular sources of fundraising were put on hold due to COVID-19 restrictions,” Mr Noye said.