Beach Clean Teens

teen planning beach clean up

How we can do our part to save the planet, one step at a time.

By Faith McCarthy

As young people, it’s very important for us to stay informed about environmental issues. We scroll through social media every day and see pictures of sea turtles eating plastic grocery bags or news articles about the devastating Amazon rainforest fires. Sometimes, we see these things so often that they seem normal. If you’re starting to feel like you need to take action, follow these steps to plan a trash cleanup in your area! This is a great way to spread awareness and learn more about how to be an environmental steward.

  • Find a group of people with the same interest as you—connect through social media, school, community groups, etc. Possibly plan a meeting to discuss the next few steps in the process. And advertise, advertise, advertise!
  • Choose a cleanup site. If you’re near a body of water, a beach cleanup might be a good choice. If not, a local park will work. Make sure to contact whomever you need to (parks service, town officials) to make sure you have permission to use the site.
  • Think about what you might need: sorting bins, buckets, work gloves for those participating, a water cooler (encourage people to bring reusable bottles), and anything else you can think of!
  • Be aware of how to sort and properly dispose of materials. Have bins labeled for recyclables, compost, and even one for any hazardous materials, such as electronics and tires. Anything else can go in a “landfill” bin. Do your research to find out what your local recycling service accepts.
  • Hold your cleanup! Be sure that volunteers are being safe, and inform them of how to handle sharp or dangerous items, which should go into a container of their own. 
  • When it’s all done, consider recording how much/what types of trash were collected to get an idea of what’s impacting your area the most. And don’t forget to spread the word online!

Hopefully, these steps are the start of a new cleanup organization, headed by you. Doing this is a great step forward for yourself and your community!

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This article appeared in the Beachcombing Magazine November/December 2019 issue


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