Beach Cleanups Phase Out Plastic Bag Usage

October 13, 2010 by  
Filed under Protecting Habitats

by Nichole Richez

Many clean up organizations are setting wonderful examples and really getting with the program by considering their contribution to the planet’s pollution and waste problem in the materials they use for cleanups. San Diego’s Surfrider Foundation Chapter has posted on their site a new policy for cleanups (from http://www.surfridersd.org/beachcleanups.php):

PLASTIC BAGS PHASED OUT AT BEACH CLEANUPS. In an effort to send less extra stuff to the landfill we are asking that beach cleanup volunteers bring their own reusable bucket, reusable bag or a bag(s) from home that you would throw out anyway. Also, please bring work or garden gloves to use rather then then latex/disposable ones if possible. We will continue to have gloves and a small supply of bags on hand until we can fully get the word out and look to provide reusable supplies in the future.

To help out at an already coordinated cleanup, all you have to do is show up. For all beach cleanups, please wear comfortable clothes, closed toed shoes and sunscreen. Bring gardening or work gloves if you have them. If not, we would be happy to provide you with latex gloves if needed. We also provide the bags, hand sanitizer and other essentials for cleaning up trash. (Feel free to bring you own reusable bag, used bag or bucket to help limit what ends up at the garbage dump.)

While this may seem like a no brainer for some of us purists, most cleanup efforts involve using plastic bags, latex gloves, bottled water for refreshment, among other now becoming-taboo polluting products. One might have noticed this on TV watching the BP oil spill cleanup efforts in the gulf: teams of volunteers scooping up tarball-tainted sand into very large clear plastic bags, which could only hold a small amount and be easily carried. So after a few scoops, bam!, time for a new one. I couldn’t help but ask how much pertroleum was being wasted by the use of so much plastics during cleanup and that maybe there was a better solution given the scope and breadth of this disaster.

So, evidently others are getting the idea. The California Coastal Commission’s Coastal Clean Up Day advertised “BYO for CCD” and fruther stated on their website (http://www.coastal.ca.gov/publiced/ccd/ccd28.html):

For example, in 2009, Coastal Cleanup Day volunteers used more than 130,000 plastic bags and 135,000 plastic gloves during Coastal Cleanup Day. Countless cleanup sites held barbeques, lunches or snacks for volunteers, and many of these generated additional packaging and food-related waste. Thousands of volunteers drove cars to their cleanup sites around the state.

The Coastal Commission is committed to reducing the environmental footprint of Coastal Cleanup Day, but we need your help to do so! Please join our efforts this year by turning out to the Cleanup with a “Bring Your Own” philosophy.

The Kailua Beach Clean Up Day (http://plasticfreekailua.blogspot.com/) further stated that their event was “followed by a low-impact potluck.” Taking the green and sustainability movement all the way is the way to go, in our daily life, in our activism and clean up efforts and in the actions of our organizations. Kudos to those pushing forward the next step in our evolution of responsible living.

Saving Our Beaches – National Clean Beaches Week (Dates: July 1-7, 2009)

November 26, 2008 by  
Filed under Protecting Habitats

Clean Beaches Week is the “Earth Day” for beaches.
Held annually from July 1-7, it is a celebration of the healthy beach lifestyle.  The four main themes of the week are: food, recreation, travel and our environment.  Founded in 2003, the week has drawn enormous public support: over 150 coastal governors, mayors, and county commissions have now issued proclamations in support of the week.  In 2007, by unanimous consent, both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives passed resolutions enacting the week.

What it’s all About (aka, the “vision” thing)
We envision Clean Beaches Week as a seven-day celebration of consumers recognizing and embracing the benefits of beaches in their lives. We have developed four initial themes that highlight the importance of beaches to all Americans:

Environment: The 4th of July is the biggest beach holiday in America – and the dirtiest.   During Clean Beaches Week, the public will be strongly urged to “leave no trace” of litter, only footprints at the beach.

Dining: The American Heart Association recommends that all Americans eat seafood at least twice a week.  During Clean Beaches Week, Americans will be encouraged to have a healthy meal everyday during their visit to the beach.

Recreation: More than 180 million Americans visit the beach each year.  During Clean Beaches Week, the public will be urged to get out and get active everyday by playing, surfing, fishing, walking or reading during their beach visit.

Travel:  Each year Americans make 2 billion visits to ocean, gulf, and inland beaches.  During Clean Beaches Week, the public will be encouraged to reduce their carbon footprint though energy efficiency, conservation, carpooling, walking and other green activities.

Get Involved
Individuals, families and communities have several opportunities to support Clean Beaches Week:

Low-Carbon Beaches (offset program: available for individuals, businesses and municipalities)
Friends of Clean Beaches (includes: window-decal, guides (safety and seafood), magnet, and wristband)

Sponsorship
To learn about corporate sponsorship and/or licensing opportunities, visit www.cleanbeaches.com.

About Clean Beaches Council
CBC is the lead organization for this national public awareness campaign.  For nearly a decade, CBC has successfully delivered its message promoting clean beaches to over 100 million Americans through television, radio, and print media coverage.   CBC has been featured on The Today Show, CNN, Parade Magazine, Organic Style, Fox News, C-SPAN, The Weather Channel, CBS Radio, ABC Radio, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, Newsday, and National Public Radio to name a few.

(source: Clean Beaches Council www.cleanbeaches.com)