NEC’s Zero Waste Coastal Cleanup Day Takes a Stand Against Single-Use Plastics

Custom artwork designed for our Zero Waste Coastal Cleanup Day, by Mir de Silva.
Custom artwork designed for our Zero Waste Coastal Cleanup Day, by Mir de Silva.

On September 21, the NEC is celebrating its 40th anniversary of organizing beach cleanups! What began as a humble beach beautification project at the NEC in the 70s, eventually gained attention and grew into the statewide and then international Coastal Cleanup Day—which is now the largest volunteer cleanup event in the world! This year, we’re taking beach cleanups back to the basics and reframing them to be the educational tools that they are meant to be. At the rate that the plastics issue is growing globally—and now with the recognition that plastics production and use are contributing to climate change—we recognize that in order to really make a difference we must work together to stop pollution at its source.

This is why the NEC is taking a stand against single-use plastics and reframing Humboldt County’s Coastal Cleanup Day. This year our focus will be on educating the public about the difference that every individual has the power to make. We will no longer be accepting single-use plastic bags or single-use gloves for our cleanups. We will also be taking a stand against the corporate plastic water bottle companies that sponsor cleanups to green wash their public image.

In our first year hosting a completely Zero Waste Coastal Cleanup Day, we are figuring out how to support local businesses while avoiding adding to the waste stream through our cleanups. We are asking that our participants bring their own cleanup supplies (such as gloves, buckets, pickers, etc.) if they have access to them. For those who do not have access to cleanup supplies, we will be lending out bags and buckets that have been generously donated by the North Coast Co-op, CNPS, and Redwood Curtain Brewery for our cleanup efforts. We will also be lending out reusable garden gloves, courtesy of Pierson Building Center, to interested parties to eliminate the use of disposable single-use gloves. Last, but certainly not least, we will be using thrifted t-shirts to print our very own Coastal Cleanup Day art by local artist Mir De Silva!

Last year with the help of over 700 Humboldt County volunteers, we cleaned up 45 sites and removed over six tons of debris from our beaches, rivers, bay and estuaries! Now that the NEC has declared war on single-use plastics, we vow to do our best to spread awareness for single-use alternatives and host zero waste events to lead by example. By working together we can better understand how our consumer habits impact our planet and start making the little changes necessary for a brighter and less trashy future.

How To Get Involved:

Become a site captain! Site captains are the main points of contact for the cleanup teams at each site. If you would like to become a site captain, visit our website and fill out our online form at

Sponsor Zero Waste Coastal Cleanup Day! Sponsor Coastal Cleanup Day by August 15 to have your business logo included on our posters, banners, and other media. Visit our website to learn more about the different levels of sponsorship, at

Stand together to End Single Use Plastics! We are all consumers on this planet which means we all have an important role to play. If a product can’t be reused, repaired, rebuilt, refurbished, refinished, resold, recycled or composted, then it should be restricted, redesigned or removed from production.

For more details, visit, email, or call us at 707-822-6918.

See you on Saturday, September 21!


About the Artist:
Mir de Silva, creator of the NEC’s Zero Waste Coastal Cleanup Day 2019 artwork.
Mir de Silva is a painter and landscaper living in Eureka. Through her work she spends much of her time in gardens, creeks, brambles and tree perches. It is from these places that she draws inspiration for her art. In 2016 she became acquainted with the Order of the White Crowned Sparrows, a fuzzy organization that has further helped her to integrate with the fauna of Humboldt County on a personal basis. Although the OWCS prefer to remain anonymous, they have expressed their deepest gratitude for the efforts put forth by humans to remove litter in the environment. Their calls of, “Hey! Pick up this trash!” can be heard from any rooftop up and down the coast. (Disclaimer: Mir does not speak bird very well, but she is pretty confident that is what they are saying.)