Fighting for Trash Free Seas®

Ending the flow of trash at the source

International Coastal Cleanup

Small Cleanups, Big Impacts

Where safe, small cleanups can happen, volunteers like you are tracking their impact, collecting important data on the amount and types of trash collected and submitting it all through Ocean Conservancy’s app, Clean Swell. Explore the map to see where small cleanups are contributing to a global movement, whether at the beach or not!

Together Apart

How to Conduct a Safe, Small Group or Individual Cleanup

8 Steps to Safely Conduct a Solo or Small Cleanup

1. Pick a Location
Identify a safe location to clean where social distancing is easily achievable. Think ahead about where you will properly dispose of trash at the location you choose. Monitor your health and the health of your family members before considering a cleanup of any size.

2. Gather Materials
Gather materials needed. This includes proper Personal Protective Equipment (masks and gloves), hand sanitizer, grabbers, trash bags, closed toed shoes and a reusable water bottle.

3. Download Clean Swell
If you are able, please help us collect important data on the types and amount of trash you remove. Download the Clean Swell application on your phone or other smart device. Be sure to “Allow” location services while using the app.

4. Clean Up
Safely collect trash using gloves, and take pictures to document your efforts. Never pick up any trash items that you are not comfortable with.

5. Carefully Remove Gloves
After you finish collecting items, carefully remove gloves and wash hands and arms with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

6. Record Data
Follow steps on the Clean Swell app to review and submit your data. Data automatically submit to Ocean Conservancy’s database when you see a “Thank You!” screen.

7. Properly Dispose of Waste
Properly dispose of items collected. Do not place trash bags in overflowing bins. This may cause items to fly away and end up back in the water.

8. Sanitize
Immediately and thoroughly sanitize any gear used during the cleanup including grabbers, gloves and buckets.

Find Out More

  • Learn more about Ocean Conservancy’s cleanup data collection app, Clean Swell.
  • For more information on planning a cleanup from start to finish, check out our Start a Cleanup page.

Take Action at Home

At its core, the International Coastal Cleanup is about people: the incredible community of people like you, who care about our ocean’s health and strive to keep it free of plastic pollution and trash. If participating in a cleanup activity is not an option for you this year, there are other ways to take action! Here’s how you can take part, from anywhere:

Deadliest Year for Manatees

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