So you got invited to a beach clean up, or want to host one, or you have no idea and you just happen to be reading this...I got you.
But what's so good about doing a beach clean up? It sounds sweaty, gross, and seems like a lot of work...well it is, but there's so much that comes out of it. Many people have this mindset of "Oh, what's a beach clean up going to do if there's going to be more trash the next day, it won't truly make an impact." This was my mindset going to my first clean up, so don't feel bad if you feel this way.
Truth is, once the clean up was over, I couldn't believe how much trash there really was. It's true they say that you don't notice things unless you're actually looking for it. We collected about 100lbs worth of trash. That is about the weight of my body. Imagine all the beaches around the world, and all the animals mistaking trash for food, when all we did was clean up one stretch of sand.
You find all sorts of things; old toothbrushes, styrofoam from cup noodles, detergent jugs, plastic pots from plants, hangers, anything you can think of, I've found. It puts things into perspective when you are the one seeing it in front of you and picking it up. This could've been my toothbrush from 7 years ago and it never made it to the landfill. It made me change the way I live. And so really, beach clean ups can start from your own home.
We lessened our use of plastic and made less trash in general. We made zero waste swaps that were easy, such as a bamboo toothbrush, or zero waste powder detergent. That put my mind at ease knowing, "At least my detergent jug doesn't exist."
So now you want to go to that beach clean up, or start one on your own. Here's a checklist of what to bring!
- Trash bags (for the trash duh)
- Sifters (for micro-plastic/small debris)
- Gloves (trash is nasty)
- Water (it's hot and you need to hydrate)
- Sunscreen (it better be reef safe & it better be Da Mask Sunscreen)
- Bathing suit (to treat yourself to the ocean after a rewarding clean up)
- A good attitude (that beach isn't going to clean itself!)