Meet the volunteer wrangling rubbish on the Western Highway

The next time you are driving down the Western Highway and see the roadside rubbish neatly packed into collectable bags, thank Penni Iredell, a volunteer from Dadswells Bridge. Mrs Iredell has lived in Dadswells Bridge for more than 30 years, during which time she has seen the rubbish of passing vehicles and travellers pile up along the side of the highway. In the past three months, Mrs Irdell took it upon herself to lead the clean-up, with a post on Facebook calling for chaff bags to hold what she collected. “You just see the rubbish on the side of the highway and think something has to be done,” she said. “So I just asked on Facebook if any of my horse friends had any old chaff bags to put the rubbish in.READ MORE: “I said the bigger the better because there is so much rubbish.” Mrs Iredell said the most commonly littered item was disposable coffee cups, followed by fast-food waste and car parts. “We are halfway between Horsham and Stawell, so when people buy a pizza or fast food, by the time they are finished it they are just about here and it goes out of the window,” she said. “This time around the most popular thing I pick up are disposable coffee cups and energy drinks.” She estimates that she has filled 60 bags of rubbish since she started, cleaning the stretch of highway between Dadswells Bridge and Northern Grampians Road. In that time, Regional Roads Victoria had contacted Mrs Iredell and supplied her with large purpose-built rubbish bags. She fills up the bags and leaves them in spots along the highway, after which they are collected by either Regional Roads Victoria or the council. “The main thing I look forward to is when the Victorian government gives us a 10 cent rebate on our cans because that makes up more than half of the rubbish,” she said. “You go over the border, South Australians don’t throw out their cans.” Mrs Iredell said the issue of roadside littering along the Western Highway has worsened after the removal of bins from the rest stops along the highway. Without the bins, Mrs Iredell said it was common to see people leave rubbish at rest stops, or throw them out their car windows. Beyond providing her with larger bags to accommodate the rubbish, Regional Roads Victoria, who is responsible for rubbish collection along the highway, has agreed to bring the rubbish to the tip. Mrs Iredell said she gains satisfaction from cleaning her patch of the highway and hoped to inspire others to volunteer and clean their communities. “I have always done something. It is always good to volunteer, help out. I have cleaned this bit, and it looks better, and hopefully, someone else cleans their section of highway. It is just a good feeling to do something,” she said. While you’re with us, you can now receive updates straight to your inbox from the Stawell Times-News. To make sure you’re up-to-date with all the news from across the region, sign up here.

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The next time you are driving down the Western Highway and see the roadside rubbish neatly packed into collectable bags, thank Penni Iredell, a volunteer from Dadswells Bridge.

Mrs Iredell has lived in Dadswells Bridge for more than 30 years, during which time she has seen the rubbish of passing vehicles and travellers pile up along the side of the highway.

In the past three months, Mrs Irdell took it upon herself to lead the clean-up, with a post on Facebook calling for chaff bags to hold what she collected.

“You just see the rubbish on the side of the highway and think something has to be done,” she said.

“So I just asked on Facebook if any of my horse friends had any old chaff bags to put the rubbish in.READ MORE:

“I said the bigger the better because there is so much rubbish.”

Mrs Iredell said the most commonly littered item was disposable coffee cups, followed by fast-food waste and car parts.

“We are halfway between Horsham and Stawell, so when people buy a pizza or fast food, by the time they are finished it they are just about here and it goes out of the window,” she said.

“This time around the most popular thing I pick up are disposable coffee cups and energy drinks.”

She estimates that she has filled 60 bags of rubbish since she started, cleaning the stretch of highway between Dadswells Bridge and Northern Grampians Road.

In that time, Regional Roads Victoria had contacted Mrs Iredell and supplied her with large purpose-built rubbish bags.

She fills up the bags and leaves them in spots along the highway, after which they are collected by either Regional Roads Victoria or the council.

“The main thing I look forward to is when the Victorian government gives us a 10 cent rebate on our cans because that makes up more than half of the rubbish,” she said.

“You go over the border, South Australians don’t throw out their cans.”

Mrs Iredell said the issue of roadside littering along the Western Highway has worsened after the removal of bins from the rest stops along the highway.

Without the bins, Mrs Iredell said it was common to see people leave rubbish at rest stops, or throw them out their car windows.

Beyond providing her with larger bags to accommodate the rubbish, Regional Roads Victoria, who is responsible for rubbish collection along the highway, has agreed to bring the rubbish to the tip.

Mrs Iredell said she gains satisfaction from cleaning her patch of the highway and hoped to inspire others to volunteer and clean their communities.

“I have always done something. It is always good to volunteer, help out. I have cleaned this bit, and it looks better, and hopefully, someone else cleans their section of highway. It is just a good feeling to do something,” she said.

While you’re with us, you can now receive updates straight to your inbox from the Stawell Times-News. To make sure you’re up-to-date with all the news from across the region, sign up here.

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