Alister Newton has discovered a new talent - he can hunt out tiny pieces of rubbish hidden on sandy beaches.
“When you first start looking for trash on the beach, you don’t really find a lot, but then you get your eyes tuned in. You really get your groove on after a while. Now I’m finding tiny bits of rubbish everywhere,” he says.
Armed with rubbish sacks and gloves, Alister was taking part in a pre-Christmas beach clean with his workmates Allie Roozendaal and Chelsea Hudson. Together the TSB team spent a day combing popular beaches in New Plymouth for rubbish, clocking up 30,000 steps and collecting three bags of trash.
“We’ve found all sorts: broken glass, bottles, lots of plastic, polystyrene, a fork, regular household waste, and dog poop bags. The dog owners had done the first step and picked it up, but didn’t quite finish the job.”
The trio came up with the idea for a beach clean when deciding what to pick for their TSB community day. Each year, staff members have a paid day off to do volunteer work in their region.
“This day is really important to us. We feel really lucky to work for an organisation that empowers us to give back to our community,” Allie says.
In the last few years, TSB staff have volunteered thousands of hours for activities like the Taranaki Mounga project, the SPCA, and even transporting kiwi chicks and eggs across the country to a sanctuary.
Both Allie and Chelsea have delivered chicks and eggs to the kiwi sanctuary, and Chelsea even managed to include her children in that community day.
“You have to be really quiet when you transport a kiwi, so I wasn’t sure if it would be okay for the kids to come, but it was, and it was great,” Chelsea says.
The beach clean was easy to organise through the New Plymouth District Council, with the council offering free bags, gloves and waste disposal for groups who do litter clean-ups of public places.
“It was a pretty cool way to spend a day at work,” Alister says.