24 January, 2024

Bruce takes no rubbish

'Gazza's Gossip' The ‘Goss’ is often about amazing individuals and their achievements in our communities and this week our story is about one of the very best.

Port’s recycling ‘Superman’, Bruce Ferguson.
Port’s recycling ‘Superman’, Bruce Ferguson.

Bruce Ferguson from Port Douglas has recently raised $10,000 for a very good cause. That in itself is fantastic, however, it’s not so much about the large monetary sum achieved, but more the way he managed to do it.

Now in his eighth decade and, I must add, looking very good for it, Bruce has spent the last year collecting empty cans and bottles for recycling.

Apart from the benefits to our environment, each empty container returns 10 cents. Doing the maths, 10,000 bucks equates to 100,000 collected items, which I think is an unbelievable amount.

Bruce thought of the idea, in 2022, at the Port Douglas Community Service Network, where he is a volunteer for the neighbourhood centre. 

His inspiration came at the group’s Christmas party, where Bruce was alarmed by the number of empty cans and bottles that may ultimately end up in general rubbish. Seeing the opportunity to turn this into useful coin, he embarked on this impressive challenge.

His target was to reach the massive 100,000 mark by Christmas last year, but this got slightly delayed due to Cyclone Jasper. Not to be beaten, he finally reached his target by January 8.

Most of Bruce’s bin searching was carried out at local resorts who were happy for him to carry out the arduous task at their location. Our local superstar obviously experienced some unpleasant finds in amongst the desired objects, but he was also surprised to see how many very usable items were dumped by people in a rush to get to the airport or something similar.

Bruce’s four to five hours a day effort, plus the generally high number of visitors to the resorts, guaranteed a large number desired empties and ultimately lots of cents in return. 

How the money gets used has been left, by Bruce, to the Port Douglas Neighbourhood Centre. They plan to use the funds wisely by providing a canvas shelter for their weekly morning food distribution on Wednesdays. These have proved a great help for locals, doing it tough, during the recent weather events.

One would assume that Bruce has done his dash when it comes to rummaging through bins, but that’s not the case as he well and truly intends to carry on through 2024. His next target is yet to be announced, but I have no doubt it will be something special.

Bruce has been part of the Douglas Shire community for many years, originally owning 2ha of Craiglie which he leased it to a cane farmer. Nowadays, that area is home to many local residents.

Many years later, Bruce is still putting back into the part of the World that he loves so much.

I’m off to propose a toast to our hero Bruce Ferguson, so for now it’s Gazza signing out. This will at least free up another 10 cent container for him to collect.

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