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Solo Beach Cleanups


If you’ve recently ventured out to your local park, beach or hiking trail you’ve probably noticed an increase in the amount, and variety, of trash you might expect to find. Plastic water bottles are now accompanied by disposable face masks. Periwinkle surgical gloves are guttered alongside diapers and foam takeout containers.

With LA County restrictions on public gatherings at our local beaches, Surfrider LA has been forced to suspend our monthly beach cleanups. It’s crazy to think that by July of last year we had already conducted 23 public cleanups and removed over 4,000 lbs of trash from LA County beaches, most of which was comprised of virtually weightless single-use plastic disposables. Given the amount of trash piling up in our communities and on our beaches as a result of the coronavirus pandemic it’s difficult to imagine just how much trash isn’t being picked up.


There’s a whole lot of acceptance needed in just about every corner of our lives these days. Acceptance that the coronavirus is still raging in the US and that we are entering another shutdown. Acceptance that we have to cancel that vacation we’ve long been planning. Acceptance that we can’t readily be in each others arms. Acceptance that a loved one has been lost. Acceptance that funerals, graduations and other common rights of passage have been stripped away. Acceptance of all the uncertainty, and acceptance that the coronavirus has unleashed a tsunami of pollution in a world already inundated with more trash than it can manage. 

If acceptance is the final stage of grief what might it be followed by? Renowned grief counselor David Kessler suggests that it could be meaning. Obviously no individual or organization can single-handedly remove the pollution piling up in our communities, in our creeks, and along our coast. But individuals and groups can create meaning for themselves by taking action however and wherever they can, despite limitations and constraints. These days, a little healing goes a long ways.

Until we get this pandemic under control we’ll have to continue adapting and finding ways of taking care of ourselves and the places we love, which is why we’re thrilled to launch our #SoloBeachCleanup initiative to support individuals, families and common households who want to get outside, clean their community, and help Surfrider continue our work to leverage upstream solutions to plastic pollution. 


Please adhere to local guidelines for wearing masks and practicing physical distancing during your outing. Be sure to check out Surfrider’s full recommendations for conducting a safe and successful cleanup.

To start, you’ll want to assemble your cleanup supplies. By executing your cleanup with reusable supplies, you’re not creating any unnecessary waste. We recommend gardening gloves, a bucket or grocery tote and a trash grabber if you have one. It’s also helpful to have a hand scale to weigh your haul. If you don’t have one you can simply estimate the weight. 

Next, print out a copy of our Data Sheet. Use this to track your findings while you pick up trash, tallying each item in the correct section. It’s helpful to give the data sheet a quick review before the cleanup so you can hit the ground running. By tallying items as you find them, you’ll save yourself the chore of sifting through the trash later on.

Finally, head to your favorite beach, park or community spot and get cleaning! After you’ve successfully cleaned and tallied your trash, safely dispose of it in a proper receptacle. Snap a photo of your completed data sheet and email your results to our Volunteer Coordinator at: 

If you’re taking pics of yourself in action be sure to tag us @surfriderla with the hashtag #SoloBeachCleanup – may the Gnarly Beach Cleaner be with you!