During the Cleanup

Ready to start cleaning up? Here’s what to do next.

Volunteers at an International Coastal Cleanup event in Hawaii - Photo: Elyse Butler

Set Up

Arrive early to set up, post signs and label your trash drop-off site. At your check-in station, ensure you have writing utensils and sign-in sheets ready for your volunteers.

What to Tell Volunteers

Emphasize the importance of data collection. This information is used to create a snapshot of the global ocean trash problem and influence long-term solutions. Ask volunteers to use tick marks to record debris items; words such as "lots" and "many" are not useful for data analysis.

To make data collection easier, suggest that volunteers work in small teams with each team focused on one data card.

Instruct volunteers on what to do if they encounter any hazardous items, such as sharp objects or dead, entangled or injured animals. Remind them of any local safety hazards, such as power lines or poison ivy.

Establish a point-person to stay at the check-in station in case of health emergencies or any late arrivals.

Tell volunteers what to do with the filled bags of trash, and set a meeting time for the end of the cleanup so that everyone returns at the same time.

Document the Cleanup

Take before and after photos of the cleanup site as well as shots of your volunteers in action and a final group picture with all of the trash collected.

If you have a scale with a hook, use it to weigh the trash collected. If you don’t have a scale, you can use a standard conversion of 15 pounds per trash bag to estimate the overall weight of your collected trash.

As the volunteers finish, collect all completed data forms.

Ensure all trash is left in the designated drop-off location and that no materials are left behind as you leave the cleanup location.

Start a Rippl Effect

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Do-It-Yourself Cleanup Tool Kit

Want to start your own cleanup? Get started here.

Before the Cleanup

Ready to organize your own cleanup? Here’s what to do next.

After the Cleanup

Finished cleaning up? Here’s what to do next.

Sign Up to Clean Up

Join the world's largest volunteer effort for our ocean and waterways by participating in the International Coastal Cleanup.

International Coastal Cleanup

Volunteers collected more than 16 million pounds of trash during Ocean Conservancy's 2016 International Coastal Cleanup. Here's what they found.

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