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Byron Shire
September 27, 2021

Making a difference, one piece of rubbish at a time

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Aydan Wyse collecting rubbish between Suffolk Park and Lennox Head. Photo Aslan Shand.

It has been five months since Aydan Wyse threw his mobile phone into a bucket of water and decided that his mission was to clean up all the world’s rubbish. Since then, he has walked around 600km from Yamba up the coast picking up rubbish from the side of the roads and he is currently making his way through Byron Shire.

‘Bad stuff had happened,’ said Aydan referring to breaking up with the mother of his two children.

He decided that rather than dragging his young children through the courts with a protracted custody battle, he wanted to leave a better world for them.

‘I want to leave a legacy for my kids. I want to change the world. I’m not out to hurt anyone – I just want to inspire people and let them see what you can do with no money.’

Aydan started with the Facebook page ‘One man’s effort to clean the Clarence’, collecting rubbish on the roads where he grew up.

‘Clarence Valley was really positive and got behind me. Once people see the yellow bags the start looking for me then they start clapping.’

Aydan is encouraging other people to collect a bag of rubbish and put a photo of themselves on his Facebook page with it and then he will come and clean up your area for free.

‘From anywhere in the world, collect a bag of rubbish and put it on my Facebook page and I’ll come and clean up your rubbish for free,’ Aydan said with his friendly smile.

Generosity of strangers

On the five months of his mission, he has only had one night so far where he hasn’t had a bed.

‘I met the owners of The Pass Café and they have donated money to the clean up and have said I can come in anytime for breakfast and lunch for free.’

In fact, Aydan has been amazed by the generosity and support by he has received from businesses, visitors and locals alike.

‘I just want to thank everyone for all the support, it has been a life changer – it’s like a tidal wave of love.’

But it hasn’t all been smooth sailing. Each shire Ayden walks through, he calls the local council to let them know he will be collecting rubbish and that if they would like to they can collect the bags. While in the Clarence and Byron Shire the councils have both got behind Aydan’s effort, the Richmond Valley Council said they would arrest him for dumping rubbish.

‘Byron Council has responded positively, but some of the workers who’ve been sent out to collect the rubbish have been abusive and told me I was wasting peoples money because they had to collect the rubbish.’

Just a few days ago he collected around 40 bags of rubbish from the Byron railway station as he walked down the old part of the line and Aydan has had a great response from the local community.

‘If the councils don’t want to help me then the community will,’ continued Aydan.

However, he warns everyone not to pull over in dangerous spots to collect the bags.

Inspiring others

Aydan has inspired others to take bags and collect rubbish from beside the road with one local lad, Yoshi, who has started collecting rubbish around Mullumbimby and Brunswick Heads.

Phil Warner, Acting Director Infrastructure Services for Byron Shire Council, said the actions of the man in cleaning up the environment were commendable and Council is picking up the bags of rubbish however, ‘Some bags have been left on the edge of the road and some cars have hit the bags and they have split open and this makes it very dangerous for our staff who now are collecting the rubbish bags,’ Mr Warner said.

‘All we are asking is that the bags are not left close to the edge of the road, and if the person can let us know where he has been so we can arrange for people to collect the rubbish that would be great,’ Mr Warner said.

If you would like to support Aydan you can donate money to support his mission at his Go fund me page.

Once Aydan has finished collecting rubbish in Suffolk Park and on the road to Lennox Head he will heading to Coolangatta.

‘A guy picked me up hitchhiking and donated some money to me so I said ‘you choose the next place I go and clean’ and he said ‘Coolangatta’.

‘Everyday I work. When I wake up I‘m grateful I didn’t die, I feel empowered, everyday is a good day.’

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  1. Ayden – thank you for all that you do. My whole family admire you. We pick up your yellow bags when we can – they are full of love, pride and respect. Thank you

  2. Dear Auden, love that you make each day count. Would like to join you for a day or two when my vitality & strength return.
    I’m 66 and healthy all my life except these past 4 months. Trash and litter has always interested me. Dana


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