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Calling all who love our shorelines and want to help make them healthier for people and wildlife.  Sunday, September 19th, is the 6th annual Bainbridge Island Beach Cleanup. Register now at the Bainbridge Beach Cleanup Signup Genius!  We will  be awarding a prize in a random drawing for the craziest piece of trash or for the coolest upcycle/artcycle expression of found beach trash!

*COVID PROTOCOLS* We are currently experiencing high Covid rates in our community. Current guidance from the state recognizes that transmission risks are high, and even fully vaccinated individuals can transmit the virus. We also recognize that young children who cannot yet receive the vaccine may be participating in this event. We strongly encourage participants to bring and wear masks, particularly if they find that a cleanup area has a large number of people or they are working with a large group. Masks WILL be required for the ETAP (Hawley Cove) sorting area.

BI Beach Cleanup FAQs

Please register at the BI Beach Cleanup Signup Genius, which will help us track participation and keep in contact with you about the event!

Signing up with us helps in a number of ways: we can reach you with important information about the cleanup, you can help us track the amount of trash we are collecting during the event, and we have a better sense of the number of folks who want to help and whether we’re actually covering all the shoreline area we are hoping to clean. While you can of course go out any time to pick up shoreline debris at your favorite beach (please!), this one-day event is a big concerted effort to cover as much of the Island as possible, and letting us know you want to participate is a great help.

You do not need to be part of a team to participate. Anyone can help— individuals, couples, families, friends, coworkers. If you would like to make your own team, all you need is to do is designate a contact person to register and have that person let us know how many of you are in the group. It is that easy!

This year we will not be doing assigned locations on a mile-by-mile basis as we did previously. We’ll be focusing on access points at public road ends and public shorelines, as well as encouraging private landowners to use this as an opportunity to remove debris on their properties. The sign-up provides an opportunity for you to indicate where you are planning to go that day, which will help us get a sense of the coverage across the Island.

No need to sign in at all. All you need to do is remove as much as trash at your location sometime between 9am and noon that day.

What a great problem to have! Due to the influence of winds, tides, and local currents, some beaches might have a lot of trash while others seem to have very little. And some pieces might be really small, but removing even those tiny pieces helps a lot. Every bit of trash you can remove helps our shoreline environment, so even if it does not seem like much—you are making a difference! It’s important to note, too, that a beach that may not at first seem to have much debris might, on closer inspection. Microplastics — small pieces of plastic hidden in the sand and beach wrack — are found everywhere. See below, “Where on the shoreline should I focus,” for more tips on how to search for debris.

  • Dress comfortably and appropriately for the weather, including wearing comfortable walking shoes or rubber boots.
  • Wear shoes with a good grip — some of our beaches have slippery rocks!
  • Consider using sunscreen and bringing a water bottle and gloves.
  • A smartphone is great if you have one and would like to download and use the free CleanSwell app to track what you have collected. Ocean Conservancy uses these data to make up their annual worldwide list of the most-collected beach litter. (It was all plastic items, food wrappers topping the list, in 2019.)  The MyCoast.org free app will come in handy if you find objects too big to haul. (See related FAQ.)
  • Bring bags and/or buckets and gloves for collecting trash.  You can use your own, or pick up bags and/or buckets to borrow and return (not lending out gloves this year) at the Miller Road gravel parking lot, just south of Congregation Kol Shalom and north of New Brooklyn Rd., prior to heading out to your site.

Yes, they are welcomed and encouraged to participate! Please make sure they are under adult supervision, especially when it comes to picking up trash that could be sharp or dangerous.

Explain that you are part of a one-day, island-wide volunteer beach cleanup where we are doing everything we can to make our beaches more beautiful and healthier for humans and wildlife. Because we are focusing on public road-ends and public shorelines, we don’t expect your presence in these public areas to be an issue. If someone does ask you to leave their property, please respect their wishes.

No – we want you to do only as much as you can with the time you have available. If you have a section with very little trash that doesn’t take you very long, fantastic! If you have a section that has too much trash for you to deal with in the time you have available, that is okay, too — please let us know if it is an area you think needs more attention. Email [email protected] with the location and information about what you think is needed.

Focus your efforts between the high tide-wrack line (this is often where seaweed has piled up, and where a lot of trash is located) and the water. Keep your eyes peeled for small pieces of plastic as well as larger debris. If you find it necessary to move a rock to remove trash, please replace those rocks, as they are often home to ocean life. Also, there might be items upland of the high tide line that could look like trash but might be private property. If you aren’t sure, please leave it alone.

If you find an item like this, the best thing to do is to use the free MyCoast.org app to alert Washington Department of Natural Resources so that our local and state agencies can find and remove the item. Examples of items that are good to report on this app are washed-up boats or boat pieces, large buoys, Styrofoam floats, and creosote logs.  Be sure to snap a photo of it right where it’s located so those coordinates can be used at higher tides to find it again.  If you can’t use this app, then email [email protected] with a location and brief description of its state, such as whether it is buried.

If you’ve collected a small amount of trash and are willing to just take it home and put it in your garbage that works great. Otherwise, bring your trash to our event collection station at the Miller Road gravel parking lot, located north of New Brooklyn Rd and just south of Congregation Kol Shalom on the east side of Miller Road. The collection station will be open on the day of cleanup between 8:30 am and 12:30 pm.

We have many ways for you to share what you have collected, including:

  • Use the free CleanSwell App* (available for Android and iPhone)
  • Make a public Facebook post using #bainbridgeislandbeachcleanup or share to our Facebook page
  • Post pictures on Instagram using the hashtags #bibeachcleanup and #litterati (the latter is a global trash tracking program)
  • Email [email protected]

* Interesting factoid: Because of beach cleaners’ record keeping, we know that 2019 was the first year in which candy wrappers chip bags became the most commonly found beach trash, surpassing cigarette butts as the top item for the first time.

Prizes will be given for the weirdest, coolest finds. Winners will be randomly drawn. The prize is an adoption in your name of one of the 74 remaining Southern Resident Orca Whales! If you want to be considered, send us your finds and creations using the Facebook or Instagram guidelines above (“How do I share what I’ve collected”).

Take the Plastic Pledge.  For one month, try to change a single-use plastic behavior to see if it becomes a habit!

Why we conduct a beach cleanup…

Thank you for doing your part to help keep the Bainbridge shoreline clean and healthy for everyone!

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