Fighting for Trash Free Seas®

Ending the flow of trash at the source

Connect and Collect

Come Together for the 2021 International Coastal Cleanup™

For more than 35 years, the International Coastal Cleanup™ (ICC) has galvanized communities worldwide to collect trash that pollutes our waterways, making our coasts cleaner and our ocean healthier.

In 2020, many of us were not able to gather together for the ICC, and many of us found ourselves isolated from others and from our blue planet.

This year, we made the ICC a time for people to reconnect with each other, the waters they love so much and Ocean Conservancy’s mission to keep our ocean free of trash. After so much time apart, we’re making the world’s largest volunteer effort to clean our waterways better together.

Join us for ICC 2021 by following three easy steps:

1. Form Your Crew

Mauritius_credit Courtney Jenkins (9)
©  Natalie James
Want to protect our ocean from an environmental crisis? Good! Have a hometown buddy, friendly co-worker, a lifelong partner or beloved family member that feels the same way? Even better!

The International Coastal Cleanup™ is the perfect time to connect with your family and friends while helping to eliminate trash from marine environments. Whether you have a +1 or a +10, bring them along to help clean up during this ICC.

2. Find a Spot

With your newly formed cleanup crew, choose the best location to make a difference. From your favorite beach to a beloved park, any place is a good place to join the ICC. Trash travels, so even picking up litter off a city sidewalk can help protect wildlife and communities that depend on clean waterways. Learn how to conduct a safe clean up here.

Want to join an organized cleanup? We’ve got you covered! Use our map to see if a coordinator is planning a cleanup in your region. If there are no events near you, don’t worry! All you need to be a part of the ICC is Ocean Conservancy’s Clean Swell® app.

3. Clean Up

Mauritius_credit Courtney Jenkins (7)
© Dimitri Rault
Time to take on the trash! Grab your crew, go to your spot and become part of a global movement for our ocean. This is your time to help marine wildlife and the ecosystems they depend on, so make the most of the International Coastal Cleanup™ season starting September 18, 2021!

Before you start your cleanup, make sure you download the Clean Swell® app to record the trash you and your crew collect! By using Clean Swell®, you not only measure your squad’s cleanup impact but also help contribute data that can lead to new research and policy changes for our ocean! Download Clean Swell®here.

Join Friends All Over the World

Show Off Your Pod with #ConnectandCollect

Show your “devocean” to our waterways! Find graphics below to share and invite your friends to join you in a cleanup or do one of their own. Make sure to take photos of your crew during your cleanup and tag #ConnectandCollect.

Download Graphic

Download Graphic

Download Graphic

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#ConnectandCollect

Tag Your Photos and See People Celebrating All Over the World!

8 Steps to Safely Conduct a Cleanup

Learn How to Plan a Solo or Small Group 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.

Want More?

Work from Home for Trash Free Seas

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:

Keep Advocating

The ICC is a perfect time to advocate for long-lasting policy changes that protect marine environments and wildlife.

Keep Learning

Increasing awareness about the threats facing our ocean is essential for improving ocean health. By learning more about our coasts and educating others about our waterways, you can help protect and restore our ocean. We have plenty of ways for you to learn and explore on our website:

  • ICC Report: What did Ocean Conservancy learn from our history of cleaning up? Find out how ocean-loving volunteers made our coasts cleaner and healthier in our ICC reports. Stay tuned for this year’s report.
  • Talking Trash & Taking Action: What’s a great way to take on one of the greatest threats our ocean faces? Become an expert on it! Check out our marine debris educational guide developed in partnership with the NOAA Marine Debris Program. It was built as an introduction to the topic for youth but is easily adaptable for audiences of all ages.
  • Our Blog: Learn about current issues facing our ocean and new ways you can take action on our blog. Explore the latest from our Trash Free Seas® program.

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