This past weekend, we partnered with the amazing team at Tervis® Tumbler to host a community beach cleanup in Siesta Key, Florida.
Why Siesta Key?
Siesta Key, which is a barrier island situated just off the coast of Sarasota, has been voted the nation's best beach—twice! It's no surprise that it's considered one of the prettiest beaches with its eight-mile stretch of unique quartz sand and clear blue waters. Sarasota County had more than 2.7 million visitors this past year, meaning many of those visitors also spent some time at Siesta Key. Our team wanted to bring the community together to raise awareness that even the prettiest of beaches are still affected by single-use plastics and other marine debris.
The Siesta Beach Cleanup started at 9:00 am but eager participants starting arriving as early as 7:00 am. Upon first looking at the long stretch of white quartz sand, Siesta Key Beach and the surrounding areas seemed pretty clean. It was not until we dug further (literally!) that participants found a large amount of trash.
At a majority of our community beach cleanups, our staff is joined by Citizen Scientists who stay behind even after the large crowds are gone to help our team with sorting recyclables from trash. A Citizen Scientist is a volunteer that goes a step above just cleaning the beach and assists 4ocean staff with collecting data on the specific types of plastic items we find during our cleanups. Data collecting is a critical part of keeping beaches clean and safe for marine life and humans because it creates a snapshot of the global ocean trash problem. This information, in turn, will be used in the future to help narrow down what plastics are found where and what we can do in order to stop single-use plastics from polluting our ocean and coastlines.
From Siesta Key Public Beach and the surrounding private beaches, we collected the following single-use plastic items:
- 144 plastic straws
- 187 plastic utensils
- 234 plastic and styrofoam cups
- 355 plastic bags
- 463 plastic bottles
- 1,345 plastic bottle caps
Breaking Records, One 4ocean Community Cleanup at a Time!
Just last month we broke our attendance record when 1,020 participants joined us for our 2-Year Anniversary Beach Cleanup. At our Siesta Key Beach Cleanup, we broke that record by more than 300 participants! As of Saturday afternoon, 1,343 ocean lovers had helped to make a difference and did their part to clean Siesta Key Beach and the surrounding areas.
Working with Tervis Tumbler
Tervis is one of the most well-known companies who make reusable bottles and tumblers. The first 100 participants to show up to the Siesta Key Cleanup received a free reusable stainless steel Tervis tumbler to provide them with an alternative to single-use plastic bottles. We always encourage everyone to bring their own reusable water bottle to our community beach cleanups to reduce their plastic footprint.
Each and every time we do one of these cleanups, we are so incredibly proud and inspired to have all of you as our supporters! There is a huge problem out there and it is going to take an army to clean it up, but each and every one of you has a part to play. And when we see the size of the crowds and the type of enthusiasm we experienced in Siesta Key, we know the clean ocean movement is growing. And it's all because of you. Thank you.
Head on over to our Discover 4ocean Facebook Group and join the conversation about ocean conservation and single-use plastics. Also, make sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to stay up to date on all things 4ocean!