April 29, 2014

Plastic-Free Event Challenge #3

Prepping for a beach cleanup with 250 volunteers is no easy task, but Save Our Shores is not afraid of a challenge. 

Photo by Save Our Shores

The Santa Cruz Warriors joined SOS for a big beach cleanup at Seabright Beach on March 15th and we were so excited to invite everyone in the community!  In addition to the time it took for planning the event, there were also many tangible items necessary for the cleanup. We printed hundreds of waivers, packed three cars full of buckets, tables, and other bags filled with cleanup supplies, a sound system, and multiple signs! SOS knew that this was a cleanup like no other! 
Photo by Save Our Shores
A couple weeks prior to the cleanup, SOS helped the Santa Cruz Warriors order reusable water bottles for the first 150 participants.  This was our way of making sure our volunteers were hydrated and saying thank you to all who came out to support the cause.

Excitement and anticipation rose as the day of the cleanup approached. We knew the custom metal water bottles were on their way!  One day, four big boxes packed with reusable water bottles arrived at our office and we opened them to find each bottle wrapped in plastic. Our hearts sank as we started to comprehend the complexity of hosting a entirely plastic-free event. Our shock turned into frustration and immediately we began to realize the foolishness of plastic packaging.
Photo by Save Our Shores
This time we had to focus and think of creative solutions. We brainstormed and decided to use these as a substitute for dog waste bags since we were running low on Mutt Mitts for our beach signs on Seabright Beach and Twin Lakes Beach.

Large Beach Cleanup: Plastic Slip-ups
     Reusable water bottles came packaged in plastic bags...reused for dog waste bags!
     Blue tarps for cleanup teams were wrapped in plastic

Suggestions for Buying From Companies:
     Request the company you purchase from to not use plastic packaging material for items that are ordered and shipped to SOS

     When contacting companies use email tagline similar to: “Each and everyday is a plastic free day at Save Our Shores”

-Kim Marks, Save Our Shores Program Intern


  1. I love adding that tag line. Great idea. Sorry you ended up with unintended plastic, but great to treat it as a learning experience.

  2. I feel your pain! So frustrating! I worked on a project promoting active lifestyles and participants received a backpack with an info pack including a plastic water bottle and a plastic fridge clip. We had 10,000 to pack and deliver, and every single bottle and every single fridge clip was wrapped in plastic. Made my heart break! Plus the bag was made of plastic, there was a bottle of chemical-laden plastic sunscreen included, and a plastic pen. I wonder how many packs will end up in charity shops or worse, landfill? Plus all this stuff was made in China, and shipped overseas. Arghh!


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