This year’s annual Washington Coastal Cleanup event was a huge success! All five chapters hosted cleanups, with some chapters doubling down and hosting two. We worked with Washington CoastSavers to help coordinate cleanups along the outer coast as well, and this statewide effort resulted in over 500 volunteers hitting the beaches to remove over 15,000 lbs of debris!
Our Bellingham Chapter hosted a cleanup at Birch Bay State Park, in which over 50 volunteers removed 180 lbs of debris from this beautiful stretch of coast.
Seattle Chapter held their first Clean & Cruise of 2022, joining forces with local businesses for a full day of fun. Dozens of volunteers participating in a cleanup of Lake Union, followed by a paddle race organized by Urban Surf, a social paddle, and music, prizes, and presentations.
The Tacoma Chapter partnered with the Ikkatsu Project for the Tacoma Shoreline Survey Beach Cleanup, removing over 270 lbs pounds of trash from Jack Hyde Park, including some hard to reach spots thanks to the kayak crew.
Oly Surfrider hosted TWO cleanups this year. They had 67 volunteers show up at their usual spot at Twin Harbors State Park, removing almost 1000 lbs of debris. They also set up at Ocean Shores, and had a few dozen folks collect over 200 lbs.
The OPC also doubled down, with one crew of 45+ people cleaning up over 300 lbs of debris from Ediz Hook, and 35 people removing 1640 lbs from Hobuck.
Remote Cache Cleanup & Recycling Effort
As part of our work with CoastSavers, we have an ongoing pilot project to divert as much marine debris from the landfill as possible (made possible by funding from NOAA’s Marine Debris Program). Partnering with State and National Parks staff, Net Your Problem, and other groups, we were able to sort the trash our volunteers collected and ship hundreds of pounds across the border to Ocean Legacy in BC, where it will be mechanically recycled into plastic pellets and repurposed into new materials.
Part of this effort included the removal of a cache of marine debris that’s accumulated over the years at South Sand Point in Olympic National Park, which was a logistical feat that involved 16 hardcore volunteers making 41 trips (totalling 164 miles!) between Sand Point and Lake Ozette, where 5 literal boatloads of debris were loaded onto a boat and shuttled to the Ozette Ranger Station.
Of the over 1700 lbs of debris removed from the cache, 97.4% was recycled – that’s over 1670 pounds of trash diverted from the landfill! They say a picture’s worth a thousand words, and after seeing the before and after pictures, I couldn’t agree more!
Huge shout out to the hundreds of volunteers, all the Parks staff, our partner organizations, and chapter leaders for this incredible collective effort to remove harmful debris from our coasts! While cleanups are not a solution, they are a critical piece in the marine debris puzzle, providing valuable data that we leverage to pass legislation aimed to stop plastic pollution at its source.