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

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

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 Lyman and our college interns Alexis Burns and Corey Ackerson conducted 22 coastal cleanups. We had so many requests for community service projects that volunteers sometimes scoured the same location only four days apart. “Still,” said Sarah, “we always found a surprising amount of trash to pick up!”

Volunteers entered data into Clean Swell, an app that tallies the amount of debris as it is collected. From May to September, volunteers collected over 16,122 cigarette butts, 6,680 tiny plastic pieces, and 2,541 food wrappers.

They hauled off a shopping cart, clothing, lobster buoys, a wicker chair, fireworks, bundles of soggy newspapers, broken glass, and three sets of keys.

Despite the challenges and a certain gross factor (we supply Latex gloves, tongs to pick up dangerous material, and hand sanitizer), volunteers were enthusiastic about their service. Staff members from L.L.Bean participated in a cleanup of Back Cove in late August. Team leader Sarah Callender wrote to Sarah and Alexis afterward, “It was very gratifying to see the visual impact of our pickup, as well as to receive encouragement from people walking by. I think seeing us cleaning up the waterfront may inspire others not to toss that straw or candy wrapper. We were surprised that those tiny pieces of debris added up to 30 pounds of trash in two hours! The fact that Friends of Casco Bay does so many clean-ups speaks to how important their role is in our community.”

A busy year for our volunteers:

Water Reporter: 185 volunteers, 775 observations posted for the Casco Bay watershed

Coastal Cleanups: 22 cleanup events, 285 participants, 937 lbs. of trash

Storm Drain Stenciling: 4 events, 46 volunteers, 322 storm drains stenciled

If you are interested in participating in coastal cleanups, starting next April, email volunteer [at] cascobay [dot] org.