picking trash out of the seaweed and apples all over the beach

Inspired by the clean up pictures posted by SLO Coast Kayaks to their Facebook page earlier this week I decided this Friday would be a good day to go out and do the same with some ocean swimmers. A major holiday wasn’t exactly the best day to pick for attendance, but we had a break in the storms that have been passing through and it was actually a really nice sunny day to do some work! 4 of us hit the beach with bags in hand looking to leave the beach a little better than how we found it.

a surprisingly beautiful day at the beach, the rain comes back tomorrow

I went out a little early to survey the beach and see how things were looking. There was a lot of debris, but luckily not too much in the way of big pieces of trash like bottles and tires. Much to my surprise the beach was covered in apples… like hundreds of them! How random is that? We figure they must have been pushed down the canyon when the creek was flooded and then the ocean threw them back onto the beach.

a light bulb in an apple, one of the better finds of the day

At first I wasn’t totally sure what to do with the apples… they obviously don’t belong on the beach but they’re not trash. I did what any perplexed modern man would do and asked facebook :) The best advice came from my buddy Erin: “leave them. What she creates she takes back eventually. What we create? not so much.”

if you look closely there's a crab defending this pile of decaying plant matter and garbage

The stuff we create… well there was plenty of that. Our most prevalent finds were ground up pieces of styrofoam. It was everywhere. Any clump of seaweed you found on the beach was guaranteed to have plenty of that stuff in it. Beyond that we found lots of straws, bottle caps, and things like that. I hauled off one tire to my truck and rolled another that was too big to pick up (it almost went up to my chest when standing!) over to a garbage can by the street in hopes that the city would pick it up. We also removed a few boards full of nails and bolts.

anybody missing and elephant?

After about 2 hours we called it a day and loaded up my truck with junk. Back at the house I sorted out the bottles, cans and other recyclables then worked on the whole disposal portion of the afternoon.

some of the trash loaded up in my truck

A big thank you to Lynne and her family for coming out to help! It made it more fun to have some company, and hopefully we can do another one of these in the near future. This beach gives us a lot of good days so I think it’s worth our time to keep it pretty after a rough week of storms and flooding.

If you want to do your own beach clean up day at your local beach it’s not too hard. I’d recommend getting some basic supplies… gloves, bags, a big bottle of hand sanitizer, and a fancy trash grabber thing if you’re so inclined. Beyond that just have a plan for what to do with all the trash when you’re done. If the beach doesn’t have a way for you to dispose of what you’ve picked up make sure you have somewhere else to take it and dispose of it properly.

2 Responses to “Xmas Eve Beach Clean Up”

  1. Lynn K says:

    At New years day breakfast this morning, Forrest Nelson told me about your apples on the beach photos. I have been so busy I missed it, but glad for the headsup to check it out. I did a beach cleanup walk on Christmas Day. Seems we get a lot of lemons in SoCal. That and shit. Glad I had my gloves on. I was suprised to find 3 mounds. Not sure if it was dog or human though. Pretty disgusting!
    A lot of styrofoam too. I got 2 and a half BIG bags!
    We also spoke of your awesome swim today. Maybe we can get a gang to road trip up and join you next year (I can dream…)

  2. Rob D says:

    ewww… yeah no poo on our clean up excursion… besides I would classify that as biodegradable and be just fine with leaving it there, mainly because I wouldn’t want to touch it. Yuck. Styrofoam was our biggest offender out there… little pieces of that crap everywhere.

    Anytime you guys want to come up and swim I’d love to have you!