Home » How to Help » Coastal Cleanups

Coastal Cleanups

Do you want to help keep Casco Bay clean?

Coastal cleanups are a great hands-on activity for youth groups and corporate volunteers. To participate in a coastal cleanup community service activity learn more here.  

We also welcome individuals and families to join our annual September cleanup. Complete our volunteer application in order to be notified when we schedule additional coastal cleanups.

Litter and marine debris that wind up on our shores can pollute our water, hurt marine life, and reduce the quality of life of those who live, work, and play on Casco Bay. As a volunteer, you will record data on the trash you pick up. This information is used as we advocate to reduce pollution in our coastal waters.

Trash is an unsightly blight that makes it hard for everyone to enjoy a special place like Casco Bay. Litter and marine debris on our shores come from many sources. Careless beach goers, boaters, fishing vessels, and other ships can leave trash behind. Stormwater washes trash from yards and parking lots into storm drains that empty into Casco Bay.

You can learn more about joining us as a volunteer here.

When you volunteer to help us with a cleanup, you are:

  • Collecting data on the types and size of materials removed
  • The data is then used locally and internationally for marine debris advocacy efforts
  • Making our shores cleaner and safer
  • Ensuring our coast is a place people can go to recreate and relax
  • Helping protect wildlife
  • Supporting the local economy as our coast is part of Maine’s brand; it as an ideal tourist attraction that creates a stream of revenue that supports our community
  • Protecting our quality of life

Items often found during cleanups include:

  • Styrofoam
  • Remnants from lobster traps
  • Plastic: Plastic bags and soda can rings can ensnare wildlife, causing birds and other animals to choke and die. Plastics can break down into tiny particles and be carried far out to sea where they can be ingested by fish, birds, sea turtles, and whales. Once swallowed by an animal, plastic can fill its digestive system, causing it to starve.
  • Syringes: Some waste is a biohazard, such as hypodermic needles, which threaten public health.
  • Cans and bottles
  • Cigarette butts: Cigarette butts, our most common example of litter, are made from synthetic cellulose, which contains many toxic chemicals and takes centuries to degrade.

Small trash is just as important as the big stuff! That’s why we always bring paper bags to make it easier to remove cigarette butts, pieces of plastic, and other litter. Working in teams of 3-4, each person can carry a small brown paper bag and fill that before emptying into the larger shared black garbage bag.

Read more about coastal cleanups:

What Do Shopping Carts, Soggy Newspapers, and Cigarette Butts Have in Common?

November 19, 2019

They don’t belong in the Bay! We have 285 volunteers to thank for removing these items from the coastline this year. Community Engagement Coordinator Sarah… Read more

Coastal Cleanup at Bug Light Park

August 7, 2019

September is World Cleanup Month. Join us at Bug Light Park for a Coastal Cleanup! When: Saturday, September 14, 2019, 9 AM – Noon Where:… Read more

And how is your summer going?

July 23, 2019

Summer is going swimmingly here at Friends of Casco Bay, and we have a lot of good news to share: Our priority legislative bill to… Read more

Luke’s Lobster & Allagash team up with us for a Back Cove Cleanup on May 11, 2019

April 24, 2019

This event is limited to 60 participants, and we have reached that limit. Please consider signing up as a volunteer here: https://www.cascobay.org/about-us/volunteer. Can you think… Read more

Coastal Cleanup at Bug Light Park for International Coastal Cleanup Day

July 12, 2018

Join us at Bug Light Park for International Coastal Cleanup Day! When: Saturday, September 15, 2018, 9 AM – Noon Where: Bug Light Park Questions?… Read more

Storm Drain Stenciling

Friends of Casco Bay Volunteers Take to the Streets—and the Beach

October 12, 2017

This past summer, volunteers undertook several community service projects to help keep Casco Bay clean. Thank you to TD Green Team, the Leadership Development Program… Read more