Roslyn Uttleymoore is a dedicated beach cleaner and photographer based on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. Her Instagram account @roslyn_uttleymoore documents her daily cleanups, with her finds arranged to create colourful and thought provoking art pieces that draw attention to the problem of plastic pollution in our oceans. Here, she explains her motivations for picking up rubbish and why more of us should be doing it.
When did you start picking up rubbish and was there anything in particular that prompted it? I started to collect rubbish seriously when I was on Kauai Hawaii 2019. We have lived there for three months every year for the past 20 years. I used to collect Sea Glass – now it’s plastic! It has reached critical stage and if it was not for the volunteers there simply would not be a beach on Kauai.
Where do you go on your litter missions? My daily beach clean is at Golden Beach Fraser Park Pumicestone Passage But I do collect rubbish everywhere I see it.
What are people’s reactions when they see you picking up rubbish? Most people are indifferent to what I am doing, but occasionally a person will thank me.
What are the most common items you find? Cigarette butts are the most popular item by far. Closely followed by PEGS! Haha. lolly wrappers, micro plastic, kids toys, beer cans & bottles.
What’s the weirdest or grossest thing you’ve found? Condoms, nappies, bandaids, tampons… Weird? Seriously everything is kinda weird, simply by default of ending up on the beach and not disposed of properly. People are WEIRD!
Do you have a litter picking kit and are you concerned about picking up rubbish with the recent Coronavirus outbreak? Thankfully I was gifted a set of pickers from the Sunshine Coast Council workers who I connect with every day. I don’t use gloves and I am not concerned about Coronavirus. I absolutely refuse to get caught up in the media madness surrounding it.
Your instagram feed @roslyn_uttleymoore showcases your litter missions and art pieces you’ve created using rubbish, what is the process involved? Much to my husbands JOY (not!) I have moved ALL my plastic bits to the garage. I store by colour and then in things like, bottle tops tin & plastic, Mentos wrappers, PULL wrappers, SUP stickers, bread tags, kids toys. Cigarette butts are bagged tight as they are DISGUSTING, straws, balloons, hair ties, polystyrene, cork, rope etc. I purposely don’t bother to completely clean each piece unless it is gross and I need it! Most bits are covered in sand, which dusts off. I feel the trash is trash and I made a decision not to make it too pretty, to me it defeats the purpose, besides it uses heaps of water, soap and my time!
It seems there is quite a community of litter pickers on Instagram from all over the world and a sense of camaraderie between you, is this the case? The community support on Instagram is the reason I continue plain and simple.
What is your message to people who visit community spaces such as beaches and playgrounds? My message to people ~ Pick it up, don’t be a tosser, be responsible, care about where you live, look after the planet.
What’s next for you in 2020, eg I you participated in “Febuttary” and picked up over 3500 cigarette butts, is anything else on the horizon that you’ll be getting involved in? I will participate in any of the challenges on Instagram that fit with what I do. Kauai calls me back in July – Oct and I will be visiting Cairns region May~June. Joining the Night Eyes Water & Land care group was fabulous decision.