Zero Waste Coastal Cleanup Day a Success!

Thanks to all who came out for the 2019 Zero Waste Coastal Cleanup Day!

Zero Waste Coastal Cleanup Day statistics by Ivy Munnerlyn

As you can see in this graphic, the top five items found on Humboldt County beaches during the 2019 ZW CCD were cigarette butts, plastic pieces, food wrappers, glass pieces and foam pieces. There was also a number of syringes and plastic bottles found. Individuals can make a big difference by avoiding these items in their daily life.

As longtime NEC supporters know, Coastal Cleanup Day had its humble beginnings right here in Humboldt County as a program of the NEC. Now international, the event is celebrated worldwide and is the single largest volunteer event in support of the marine environment. With your help, over 1,000 Humboldt County Coastal Cleanup Day volunteers remove about two tons of trash and recyclables from our beaches, rivers, bay and estuaries this year. Coupled with efforts throughout the state and around the world, Coastal Cleanup Day makes a quantitative difference in how much trash enters our ocean.

The Northcoast Environmental Center coordinated 40+ cleanups throughout Humboldt County—requiring an immense amount of staff time and community coordination.  Many thanks to all our cleanup volunteers, and site captains—many of whom come back to help year after year!


Why a Zero Waste Coastal Cleanup Day? 

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!

Read more in an article from the Aug/Sep EcoNews.

At the NEC's Samoa Beach Zero Waste cleanup, we had 217 volunteers and cleaned over 1000 lbs of debris. Photo: Megan Bunday.
At the NEC’s Samoa Beach Zero Waste cleanup, we had 217 volunteers and cleaned over 1000 lbs of debris. Photo: Megan Bunday.

On Saturday September 21, the Northcoast Environmental Center held it’s first ever Zero Waste Coastal Cleanup Day and it was a smashing success! The NEC’s Coastal Programs Coordinator Casey Cruikshank organized Coastal Cleanup Day for Humboldt County. With almost 40 sites around the county, so far we’ve had 1,160 volunteers report back to us with almost two tons of waste removed from our local coastlines and waterways! This is the largest cleanup we’ve had in recent history—fantastic job Humboldt County! One of the sites was hosted by the NEC at Samoa Beach where 217 enthusiastic volunteers showed up ready to clean! Groups were dispatched all the way down Samoa Beach. Over 1,000 pounds of trash were removed from this area alone!

NEC's Zero Waste cleanup featured reusable bags and buckets. Photo: Megan Bunday.
NEC’s Zero Waste cleanup featured reusable bags and buckets. Photo: Megan Bunday.

Zero Waste Coastal Cleanup Day is not only about waste removal, it also about education and data collection. All supplies provided for Coastal Cleanup Day this year were zero waste. The bags and buckets were donated by the California Native Plant Society, Redwood Curtain Brewery, and the Northcoast Co-op. Reusable gloves were donated by Pierson’s, all of the event t-shirts were donated by local thrift stores, and the t-shirts were printed at a local thrift shop.

The site captains diligently to encouraged their participants to fill out data cards at their cleanups. The NEC is currently sorting through hundreds of these data cards to gather pertinent information on local plastics. The information is then reported to the Ocean Conservancy to add to the world-wide debris data collection.

The NEC is hoping to keep up this fantastic momentum by encouraging Humboldt County to get out and clean our beaches year-round! Our ongoing Coastal Programs make it easy for community members to get involved and host their own cleanups. We have a cleanup lending library where we loan out trash pickers, buckets, bags, hazardous waste containers, and other items needed to host a successful cleanup. Visit our website to learn more about how to get involved with our sustaining programs.

Cleanup volunteers gather pallets and other waste. Photo: Megan Bunday.

The Northcoast Environmental Center would like to thank each and every person who participated in Zero Waste Coastal Cleanup Day. It has been a long time goal of ours to gather over 1,000 volunteers in the county and this year, WE DID IT! Give yourselves a pat on the back and keep an eye out for upcoming cleanups!

Thank You!


Many Thanks to our Site Captains!

The following is a list of sites for which data had been submitted by the time of EcoNews printing:

Casey Cruikshank, Northcoast Environmental Center – Samoa Beach
Ashley Donnell, HSU Men’s and Women’s rowing – Eureka Waterfront @ Halvorsen Park
Jenny Rushby, Coastal Grove Charter School – Mad River County Beach
Olivia Santangini, Papa & Barkley – Mad River County Beach
Malia Freedlund, Mattole School – Mattole Estuary/ Petrolia Beach
Suzie Fortner, Friends of the Dunes – Humboldt Coastal Nature Center, Manila
Maggy Herbelin – Eureka Waterfront @ Eureka Marina
Suzanne McClurkin-Nelson – Moonstone County Park Beach
Cindy Woods – St. Alban’s Episcopal Church Clam Beach County Park North
Katie Terhaar, Humboldt Skin Divers – Underwater at Trinidad Pier/Harbour
Jessy Carlson – Arcata Bay Trail
Ben Morehead, Trinidad Coastal Land Trust – Camel Rock/ Houda Point & Luffenholtz
Ryan Call – Agate Beach
Jenny – Eureka Waterfront at Hilfiker
Bonnie Kuhn, Caltrans – Eureka Public Marina and Wharfinger Building 1 Marina Way
Jessie Misha, Surfrider Humboldt – Trinidad State Beach
Shannon Diaz – Arcata Marsh
George Ziminsky – Arcata Marsh & Wildlife Sanctuary
Natalie Faris, Soilscape Solutions – Little River State Beach
Ryan Van Lenning – Wild Nature Heart – Mad River Bluffs Trail
Stephanie Strasser, Trinidad School – Trinidad State Beach
Josie Brown – Lost Coast Camp – King Salmon
Pam Halstead – Volunteer Trails Stewards – Eureka Waterfront Trail
Danielle Foreman – Pacific Union – Pacific Union School to Chevret-Vaissade Park
Kiya Villarreal, North Coast Co-op – Eureka Waterfront at Del Norte Street
Carla Osborn – Manila Beach at Community Center
Heather Brown – South Jetty
Ginny Hosrick – South Clam Beach
Robert Thoman – Elk River Slough
Carol Mone – Old Home Beach & Scenic Drive
Kim Tays – Beach south of Kuechel Visitor Center
Jasmine Segura, Humboldt Baykeeper – Indian Island
Eureka High School – Eureka High School campus


Graphic of 2019 Coastal Cleanud Day sponsor logos

We would like to send a huge thank you over to the local people who made Zero Waste Coastal Cleanup Day (ZWCCD) a success. Thank you to all of our wonderful sponsors: Pierson’s, Papa & Barkley, Coast Seafoods, Eel River Organics, Soilscape Soluitions, Tri Counties Bank, Coast Central Credit Union, North Group Sierra Club, Samara Restoration and Simply Macinosh. Thank you to our local artist, Mir de Silva, whose art we proudly displayed in all of our ZWCCD media. Gordie the Godwit will live on in infamy as the face of the very first Zero Waste Coastal Cleanup Day! Thank you to the DANCO, BLM, and Humboldt sanitation for donating dumpsters. Thank you to the local thrift stores who generously donated all of the thrifted t-shirts for the event: Rescue Mission, American Cancer Society, Tailwaggers, Angels of Hope, Clothing Doc and Miranda’s Rescue. Thank you to Maverick and Haywood for donating a large portion of the printing costs for the event t-shirts and for working with us to print on thrifted t-shirts.

And Extra Special Thanks to:

The Northcoast Environmental Center
would like to formally thank two
Zero Waste Coastal Cleanup Day Heros!
Special thanks to
Jill Duffy at Humboldt Waste Management Authority
Linda Wise at Recology
for swooping in and saving the day after a last minute dumpster snafu!
Without the above and beyond generous donations from these two businesses, Coastal Cleanup Day participants would have to pay to dispose of the waste they removed from our waterways.
This year, Recology donated eight of the 11 dumpsters allocated for Zero Waste Coastal Cleanup Day, while Humboldt Area Waste Management waived all of the dumping fees!
These donations allowed Humboldt County volunteers to remove as much waste as possible, free of charge.