Coastal Cleanup Day: A Watershed Event!


Volunteers at Coastal Cleanup Day

California Coastal Cleanup Day 2012 was another tremendous success because of the amazing effort and enthusiasm of our community volunteers, as well as the leadership of our site captains and generosity of our sponsors. THANK YOU!

In San Francisco alone, 3,500 volunteers collected over 10,000 pounds of debris—from our shorelines, parks, and neighborhoods. Within the Golden Gate National Parks—including 20 sites across Marin, San Francisco, and San Mateo counties—over 3,100 volunteers scoured our spectacular coastline, collecting nearly 4,400 lbs of debris, helping to keep our parklands pristine and healthy.


The statewide results are still being reported into the California Coastal Commission, but initial reports indicate that nearly 57,500 volunteers heeded the call to action and collected an astounding 640,000 pounds or 320 tons of debris.

Across the state, volunteers came equipped with their BYO supplies (Bring Your Own)! At Ocean Beach, volunteers brought over 600 reusable bags, buckets, gloves, water bottles, and more. And our friends at Home Depot helped us out for the third year in a row with hundreds of donated buckets.

In addition to the volunteers’ BYO efforts, our steadfast partners at Recology came through with aces again this year to lead the charge in helping us reduce our waste in San Francisco. Recology made sure that everything we collected was separated and as much as possible was diverted from the landfill. After we emptied the debris into the large dumpsters or curbside carts they provided, Recology took the debris back to their facility and sorted the debris on a processing line called the IMRF (Integrated Materials Recovery Facility).

Not only are the standard materials recycled—i.e. cans, bottles, hard plastic, cardboard, etc.—but also scrap wood, metal, sheet rock, concrete, sand, and fine particles. Of the 10,000 pounds of debris collected in San Francisco, Recology was able to divert 50% from the landfill—that’s nearly 5,000 pounds (2.5 tons) repurposed!

Remember, keeping our coasts clean is something that each of us can help with every day. Past Coastal Cleanup Day data tell us that about 80% of the debris on our beaches and shorelines comes from inland sources, traveling through storm drains and other waterways to the beaches and ocean. Rain or even something as simple as hosing down a sidewalk can wash cigarette butts, bits of Styrofoam, pesticides, and oil into the storm drains and out to the ocean. Learn more about marine debris.

The top 10 items we collected at Ocean Beach:

  1. Cigarettes (#1 by a land slide)
  2. Building Materials (mainly nails & scrap wood)
  3. Food Containers/Wrappers
  4. Caps/Lids
  5. Plastic Bags
  6. Paper Bags
  7. Glass Bottles
  8. Straws/Stirrers
  9. Cigar Tips
  10. Cups/Plates/Forks/Knives/Spoons

With just a little effort, we can dispose of these properly before they become litter. Other simple things we can do: choosing reusable items, disposing trash responsibly by recycling or composting, and setting a good example by picking up after others.

And you can do a little more—and make a big difference—by volunteering in the Golden Gate National parks throughout the year! Visit our Volunteer page and see how you can get involved in beach cleanups, habitat restoration, trail work, and more.

Thank you again to all our volunteers; site captains and partners; and national, statewide, and local sponsors for making this year’s Coastal Cleanup Day such a success.

State-wide Hosts and Sponsors
California Coastal Commission, Crystal Geyser, Oracle, and Whole Foods Market

Local Sponsors and Site Captains
Bay Model, Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, Literacy for Environmental Justice, National Park Service, Pacifica Beach Coalition, The Presidio Trust, Recology, and SF Parks Alliance

Clif Bar, Gaiam, Marin County Board of Supervisors, and SF Department of the Environment

Aim High, Aquarium of the Bay, Baykeeper, Boy Scout Troop 484, City of Dreams, City Kayak, Creek Harbor Association, Fairmont Hotel, Golden Gate Audubon Society, Golden Gate Mother’s Group, Green Trust SF, Headlands Institute, Hilton Hotel, Home Depot, Hoover Middle School, Marine Mammal Center, Muir Woods Trading Company, National Association of Asian American Professionals (NAAAP-SF), Oceana High School,, Point Bonita YMCA, Port of San Francisco, REI, Schools of the Sacred Heart, SF Department of Public Works/Community Clean Team, SF Maritime National Historical Park, SF Public Utilities Commission, SF Recreation and Park Department, SF Surfrider Foundation, Sea Scavenger Conservancy, Slide Ranch, Sports Basement, UC Davis Alumni Association, UCSF Mission Bay Outdoor Programs

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