Coastal Cleanup Guide | First Clean Up

If you’re attending your first clean up, there’s a lot I want to tell you that I wish I could tell past me. Firstly, YOU DO NOT NEED A FRIEND. It’s ok to go alone. You’ll have enough like-minded people there. Plus, you’ll make more friends. Better friends. But, if your friends are interested in helping, your impact is multiplied.

Wear sunscreen. Drink water. Trash is gross. But it’s worth it. Keep your shoes on. Wear gloves. Keep yourself safe so you can focus on the goal. You’re at the beach but it’s not a beach day. You’re probably not picking up trash at a pristine beach. That doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the beauty. Just be careful. Some debris, like glass or needles, can be dangerous.

Trash washes in with the tide. Tide coming in is called flooding. Trash stays when the tide goes which is known as ebbing. The places trash is most likely to stay is around rocks, piers, and other objects.

Start your search along boardwalks, piers, beach houses, and rocks. You might find a treasure trove under a beach house and pull out armfuls. Go slow. You’re searching for debris of all sizes. The small pieces are important because they are most likely to be ingested by marine animals.

Ask your organizer what debris they’re looking for. They may or may not want you to collect organics. Ask the organizer when you should return to base camp and if you’ll be sorting the debris. These are helpful questions so you know what to expect!

I’d love to know how your first cleanup went! Write me at if you have any questions or to tell me about your experience.