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How To Plan Your Own Beach Clean Up

Cigarettes on the beach


Summer is coming and we can’t wait for sunny days at the beach! As we hit the surf and sand over the next few weeks, it’s important to remember the impact we can have on these beautiful areas and to keep them free of trash and harmful pollutants. Plastic pollution is especially detrimental, causing the deaths of more than a million birds, thousands of whales, seals and turtles, and countless fish each year. These deaths occur through entanglement, suffocation and starvation by ingestion. The major issue is that plastics do not biodegrade, but simply break apart into ever smaller pieces, eventually forming “plastic dust” and releasing harmful toxins into the ocean.

Help be a part of the solution! In addition to making sure you don’t leave any of your own trash behind on your next visit, consider joining or organizing a beach clean up event!

Tips to simply and safely leave the beach a little cleaner than when you arrived:

  • Stay safe by wearing gloves to avoid injury from any sharp objects, and don’t forget to apply sunscreen!

  • Use a bucket or recycled bag to collect items and avoid creating more waste.

  • Keep an eye out for some of the main types of plastic litter: cigarette butts (the filter is comprised of plastic), food wrappers and take-out containers, plastic bottles, cups, lids, caps, utensils, bags, balloons, fishing line and six-pack holders.

  • Do not pick up syringes, needles, or other sharp objects, and don’t go near any large drums or barrels. Instead, inform a lifeguard of these items!

  • Stay away from any ecologically fragile areas like sand dunes, nesting areas and sensitive plants.

  • Document what you pick up! This may seem insignificant, but when you record the type and amount of debris you pick up on apps like CleanSwell, the information can be used to lobby for policy change, spread awareness and educate our communities, and provide data for important research.

  • Limit the amount of single-use items you bring to the beach with reusable water bottles, bags and other gear, and continue to seek alternatives to disposable/ single-use products and packaging off the beach as well!

  • Make sure you dispose of the trash properly - separating out recyclables if possible.

  • Form a group! Everything’s more fun with friends, so grab some of yours and get cleaning together!

Get Your "Clean Up in a Box"

Our partners at San Diego Coastkeeper offer a free “Clean Up in a Box” kit that includes all the items you’ll need to easily host your own clean up if you’re in the SD area! Learn more and reserve your kit here.

Join Our Clam & Clasp Clean Up

We're hosting our own Clam & Clasp Clean Up event on Saturday, May 4th at Mission Beach in San Diego! We’d love for you to join us in keeping our shores clean, while enjoying yummy treats and giveaways too! Get more information and RSVP here.

Even if you’re not organizing an entire clean up, try spending just 5 minutes (could be on your walk in and out) during your next beach trip picking up any trash you see. Every bit counts, and this also helps spread awareness and set a great example for other beach goers who may notice and be inspired by your efforts!

Let’s continue to #SpeakfortheSea together!

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