Beach cleanups are a fun, free, easy way for people of all ages to give back to their community by keeping pollution from entering the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. It’s easy to participate: just meet us at the check-in table, where you’ll sign a waiver form, and pick up your cleanup materials and data cards. Volunteers are encouraged to bring their own buckets, gloves, and reusable bags to decrease the amount of waste produced by the cleanup.
We lead beach cleanups in Santa Cruz and Monterey counties. Never miss a cleanup: View our calendar
All participants must sign a waiver form to participate in a Save Our Shores cleanup. We provide waiver forms at all public cleanups. Volunteers under age 18, participating without a legal guardian, need to bring a printed and signed waiver form with them.
Save Our Shores has been conducting beach cleanups for 30 years, yet the plastic pollution and marine debris problem only seems to be getting worse. In 2008, SOS decided to take a new approach to tackling this issue by hosting river cleanups, as well.
With funding from the City of Santa Cruz Clean River, Beaches, and Ocean Fund (Measure E), we lead numerous public river cleanups along the San Lorenzo River each year. For a list of upcoming river cleanups, check out our calendar.
It’s easy to participate in our river cleanups: All you have to do is show up! Just meet us at the check-in table, where you’ll sign a waiver form and receive your cleanup materials and data cards. Volunteers are encouraged to bring their own buckets, gloves and reusable bags to decrease the amount of waste produced during the cleanup. During river cleanups, extra supplies are available on a first-come, first-served basis, including rubber boots, shovels, etc.
Please note: Inland and river cleanup sites pose unique challenges. Participants need to be more aware of habitat sensitivity, along with the threat of poison oak and hazardous materials associated with homeless/transient populations. Youth under the age of 15 should be accompanied by an adult for all inland sites, contact cleanup(at)saveourshores.org with questions.
Save Our Shores volunteers collect data during all of our cleanups. This data provides us with key insights into the sources of our local pollution and marine debris problems, and helps us strategize how to stop pollution in its tracks. Our advocacy efforts, including local bans on single-use plastic bags and polystyrene containers, are driven by our cleanup data analysis.
A quick look at some of our cleanup stats:
The top 10 items collected at beach and river cleanups, in order:
- Cigarette butts
- Plastic pieces
- Plastic food wrappers
- Styrofoam pieces
- Paper pieces
- Glass pieces
- Plastic bottle caps or rings
- Plastic bags (grocery, shopping)
- Plastic cups, lids, plates, utensils
From 2007 to 2014, Save Our Shores collected:
- 578,545 cigarette butts
- 44,123 plastic bags