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Solo Beach Cleanups - Helpful Guidelines


Solo Beach Cleanups - Helpful Guidelines

Can't make a scheduled beach cleanup, or don't live near the beach? Here are some ways you can make an impact (in your neighborhood or beach)! 

What to Bring

  • Gloves - garden gloves or work gloves
  • Collection receptacle -  a trash bag, reusable tote, or anything you don't mind getting dirty!
  • Grabbers (if you have them)
  • Hand sanitizer
  • A friend! But if you go alone, you might just find a friend inspired to join you.

When to Time Your Beach Cleanup
While there is never a 'bad time' for a beach cleanup, it is best to maximize your impact by going after a rainstorm, or after major beach holidays like 4th of July or Labor Day when the greatest amount of trash ends up on our beaches. It is also a good idea to check the tides and go when the tide is receding exposing more beach and potentially more trash. 

How to Approach Your Beach Cleanup
When cleaning the beach, it's sometimes easy to get overwhelmed by the amount of trash on a stretch of beach. The easiest workaround for this feeling is time block your beach cleanup and focus on just one section of the beach. Focusing on just one section allows you feel accomplished as you can make a noticeable impact. Some helpful cleanup tips:

  • If it looks gross and you don't feel comfortable picking it up, leave it. No need to be a hero. 
  • If it's a needle, alert a lifeguard, please don't touch it! 
  • If it looks like it's someone's stuff (a beach goer in the water or someone residing on the beach) it probably is - leave it. 
  • If it looks natural (seaweed, shells, wood) leave it - it is a natural part of the ecosystem. 

How to Measure Your Impact
Record your trash data! If you've been to a Surfrider beach cleanup, you know we record the weight, the totals, and the types of trash collected at every cleanup. This data helps us inform local and national campaign initiatives (which includes legislative action, like plastic bans). If you feel inspired, we encourage you to record your solo trash cleanup data! How to record:

  • Create an account at If you belong to the Surfrider LA chapter, be sure to select them as your affiliation. If not, no worries! Simply select Unaffiliated with a Surfrider Chapter or Club.
  • Download the beach cleanup data card and collect information as you go. When the cards are completed, input your cleanup data at and help contribute to plastic pollution research.
  • Helpful tip: it might be easiest to focus on one section of the beach and collect trash by item types. For example: collecting styrofoam, plastic, or bottles. This makes it easier to count and record each item before disposing.  

Don't Live Near the Beach? 
No problem! Trash all over LA oftentimes ends up in our oceans as they wash from our streets, into storm drains, into the LA River and into our ocean. Cleaning our neighborhoods where we live stops the trash before it even finds its way to our beaches! We highly encourage neighborhood cleanups, no need to record your trash data. 

Solo Beach Cleanup Wrap Up
Any way you feel inspired to help out be it on a planned solo beach cleanup or picking up trash on your next walk around your neighborhood -- you are playing a part in protecting our oceans and beaches! We thank you and hope you inspire others to do the same :). 

Looking for more ways to get involved with Surfrider LA? Become a volunteer in one of our many programs or become a member  (for as little as a $5 donation)!