Surfrider doubles volunteer engagement to remove over 140,000lbs of trash from the beach

SAN CLEMENTE, Calif., July 17, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — The¬†Surfrider Foundation’s Plastic Pollution Initiative aims to eliminate plastic in the ocean by raising awareness about the dangers of pollution and by advocating for the reduction of single-use plastics. This includes ceasing production of unnecessary single-use plastics and ensuring that all existing plastic is reused or recycled rather than being burned or ending up in landfills and the environment. To this end, Surfrider’s Plastic Pollution Initiative includes both programmatic and policy work. The policy arm focuses on campaign efforts, which have led to hundreds of successful plastic pollution reduction laws. The programmatic aspects include Surfrider’s Ocean Friendly Restaurants program, which recognizes direct action to decrease single-use plastics, in addition to the Better Beach Alliance beach cleanup program, which is a foundational step in reducing the amount of plastic ending up in the ocean.

The Surfrider Foundation emphasizes community and connection in everything that they do, and reflecting back on 2022 reveals that the work they are doing brings people together. From 2021, Surfrider nearly doubled the number of volunteers who attended beach cleanups to more than 30,000 people, while capturing valuable data from over 1,000 cleanups. These cleanups covered over 1,300 miles of coastal ecosystems and removed more than 580,000 individual pieces of litter from the environment. These accomplishments illustrate the successful work Surfrider is doing on the ground to engage local communities and prove that the beach belongs to everyone. The 2022 Beach Cleanup Report highlights the success of Surfrider’s network as our program continues to expand into different locations with new coastal activists, building a nation-wide community of ocean advocates.

This report reviews how plastic impacts various coastal regions and shines a light on the items most often collected during Surfrider beach cleanups. Once again, every single one of the top 10 items found during cleanups were made of plastic and nearly 90% of all items collected were plastic. These figures continue to confirm, year over year, that plastic is everywhere and it isn’t going anywhere without large-scale legislative and industry change to shift away from and ban single-use plastic products. The report dives into expanded polystyrene (EPS) foam and explores what it is, why it is so harmful to people and the planet, and how Surfrider Foundation’s policy experts and grassroots activists are passing monumental bans to reduce our dependence on single-use plastics.

Surfrider’s Beach Cleanup program tackles ocean and coastal trash, caused primarily by rampant plastic pollution, through organized community action. The program also supports public education efforts and provides underlying data to bolster our plastic pollution advocacy campaigns. Beach cleanups inspire volunteers to become grassroot activists, creating a ripple effect of positive changes in their own consumer behavior, within their wider communities, and beyond. For more information and to see beach cleanup data, visit Surfrider’s beach cleanup database.

About the Surfrider Foundation:

The Surfrider Foundation is a nonprofit grassroots organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of our world’s ocean, waves and beaches for all people through a powerful activist network. Founded in 1984 by a handful of visionary surfers in Malibu, California, the Surfrider Foundation now maintains over one million supporters, activists and members, with more than 200 volunteer-led chapters and student clubs in the U.S., and more than 800 victories protecting our coasts. Learn more at

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