Teenager Layne Utz earns top gong for keeping Redlands streets rubbish free

TEENAGER Layne Utz has earned recognition from council for his dedication to cleaning up the Redlands.

COMMUNITY HERO: Layne Utz receives his highly commended award from Redlands mayor Karen Williams at the Redlands Coast Australia Day Awards. Photo: Jordan Crick.

COMMUNITY HERO: Layne Utz receives his highly commended award from Redlands mayor Karen Williams at the Redlands Coast Australia Day Awards. Photo: Jordan Crick.

The 16-year-old received a highly commended gong in the young citizen of the year category at the Redlands Coast Australia Day Awards to recognise the difference he is making in the community.

It comes just a year after he launched a volunteer clean-up program, inviting the community to join him in picking up litter to keep Redlands streets clean.

Mr Utz said he started the program after noticing the large amount of rubbish lying around Thornlands while taking his dog for a walk.

"I started taking a bag with me and picking up what I saw," he said.

"I don't know why I ever did that but I did and it ended up turning into me creating a bin contraption, which works brilliantly."

Mr Utz said he ran his first volunteer clean-up in January 2019, just a few months after taking to the streets himself to collect litter.

By the end of the year he and the volunteers had removed about 170 bags worth of rubbish from the environment across 41 volunteer clean-up days.

They collected things like fast food cups, straws, lolly wrappers and smoking paraphernalia.

"How we determine clean-up locations is we ask the community for places in the Redlands that they feel need a bit of a clean," Mr Utz said.

"On a really slow week, we probably only get one person (volunteering). On an average week, probably two or three people. On a really good week, I would say five or six.

"I'm thinking of expanding to get more people involved. I want to put up a poll on Facebook or Instagram to see what would encourage more attendance.

"I'm not entirely sure how to do it because it is volunteer based and picking up litter."

LOCAL LEGENDS: Layne Utz and his crack team of volunteers collected some 170 bags worth of rubbish in 2019 in 41 clean-up days.

LOCAL LEGENDS: Layne Utz and his crack team of volunteers collected some 170 bags worth of rubbish in 2019 in 41 clean-up days.

Mr Utz said cigarettes were the item the clean-up crew spent most of their time picking up.

"There are thousands of them on the roads," he said.

"If you do a medium strip in the middle of the road it is mainly small stuff like cigarettes, broken glass, taillights and headlights.

"You don't really pick up too much big stuff like bottles and cans or fast food packaging but it is still common to fill up a few bags each clean-up."

Mr Utz has created a bin contraption which he believes has sped up the cleaning process, allowing him to pick up more rubbish than he did with a plastic bag.

"It is just a delivery trolley with a small bin," he said. "That is connected with some occy straps and it's got a little piece of rope that is attached to the bin lid that I can pull up and it opens the lid without falling off.

"It is very efficient and a lot better than a bag, that's for sure."

Mr Utz is looking for more people to join his volunteer clean-up crew in 2020.

He is inviting interested people to join his Facebook page, where he posts regular event invites and updates detailing what the volunteer team have collected.

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