Identify beaches or waterways in your area that could be cleaned and that are safe and accessible. Contact the local parks agency that oversees the cleanup location to make sure you have the necessary permission to be there. Come up with a plan to dispose of the trash and recyclables you collect properly.
Visit the site in advance of the cleanup date to determine:
Register Your Event with Ocean Conservancy
Use this form to list your cleanup on the Ocean Conservancy Signup to Cleanup Map and increase your outreach.
Contact Your Crew
Encourage friends, family and colleagues to get involved and help organize the cleanup. Create a work event or a Facebook event so interested volunteers can RSVP and you can easily communicate with attendees. Spread the word through email, social media and e-invites. You can also print and post these event flyers in the area.
Sample Event Description:
“I strongly believe that no matter where we live, our ocean and waterways support and improve our lives. Today, plastic has been found in 62% of all seabirds and in 100% of sea turtle species. That’s why I’m teaming up with Ocean Conservancy to help keep our ocean and waterways clean and I’d like you to join me! I’m hosting a cleanup at [location] on [date and time], where we can all get together and work toward a common goal. Download Clean Swell onto your smart phone, which will allow you to add to years of citizen science marine debris data that gives insight into other ways to tackle the enormous and growing problem of marine debris. Click here to learn more about the International Coastal Cleanup. Hope to see you there!”
Meetup ahead of time with other dedicated volunteers to plan the event and assign roles. In your outreach, make sure to mention Ocean Conservancy’s data collection app, Clean Swell, for volunteers to download before the cleanup.
Determine what kinds of supplies you will need, such as:
Keep These Safety Tips in Mind
Review what to do in case of a health emergency (heat exhaustion or heatstroke, broken bone, etc.) and find out whether any of your volunteers have medical training or know basic first aid.
When visiting the site, look for natural and man-made safety hazards, such as rocky areas, highly variable tides, poisonous plants, high-speed roads, power lines, etc. If necessary, inform your volunteers that they may need to dress accordingly, such as wearing long pants or closed-toed shoes.
Plan ahead for handling sharp items, such as syringes or pieces of broken glass. We recommend disposing of these items in a wide-mouth container with a tight screw lid, such as an empty liquid laundry detergent bottle that you have clearly labeled.
Find out how to contact your local Fish and Wildlife Service office in case you encounter any dead, entangled or injured wildlife. You can report these finds on your data form or on the comments section in the Clean Swell app, but be sure to leave any wildlife handling to the experts.
Plan Ahead to Reduce Waste at Your Event
Providing a meal at your cleanup can be tricky when you’re trying to reduce waste! Use these tips to cut down on packaging, single-use plastics and food waste.
Volunteers must have water at cleanups, but it doesn’t have to be from a disposable bottle! Avoid single-use plastics with these tactics.
Learn how to find reusable, sustainable, material solutions.
Reduce the impact from transportation to the event with recommendations to volunteers.
Make sure to label bins with explanations of what items can go where. Tape signs to bins for “Compost,” “Recycling,” and “Landfill”. You can sort the debris you collect and the waste generated during the event. This is a great educational moment for volunteers!
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