CMC's International Coastal Clean-up Program

Get Involved and Get Swept Away!

Cleaning up an ocean, lake, river, even a stream or pond seems like a huge chore. But when thousands of volunteers pitch in, the job gets easier...and it gets done.

The International Coastal Cleanup program is an easy and effective way for plastics companies to help keep our shorelines clean and our wildlife healthy. The program, organized by the Center for Marine Conservation (CMC), involves more than 200,000 people from around the world who come together annually on the third Saturday of September to clean up our beaches. Since the program began in 1986, over one million international volunteers have participated and collected a total of 27.5 million pounds of trash.

In 1996, the cleanup drew more than 250,000 volunteers from all 50 states and 80 foreign countries. The effort is also the largest single event in the history of scuba diving, with more than 8,500 divers from around the world participating in the 10th anniversary cleanup this year. The divers are able to do what other volunteers can't - go deep into our waters and collect litter that might entangle animals or boat equipment, or wash up onto shore.

A plastics industry project

Marine debris is an important issue for plastics companies because surveys show that plastic is a major component of litter in our oceans and can present a danger to wildlife. SPI and the American Plastics Council (APC) have been sponsors of the CMC cleanup since the program began, and individual plastics companies from across the country have also been involved.

ITW Hi-Cone (Itasca, Ill.), the leading maker of plastic ring carriers, began implementing a ring carrier collection and recycling campaign during this year's cleanup (see Document #2126 for more information about how you and your community can participate in ITW Hi-Cone's plastic ring carrier recycling program all year long).

Dow Chemical Company (Midland, Mich.) has been instrumental in securing industry support for the beach cleanup. Rollpak (Goshen, Ind.) donated more than 250,000 trash bags for the 10th anniversary cleanup. And Sanford Corporation (Bellwood Ill.) has donated more than 500,000 pencils to aid volunteers in trash and data collection.

During the cleanup, volunteers record data on the types and amount of trash collected. The information is used to identify sources of marine debris, which helps efforts to stop pollution at its source. Data have been used in testimony on Capitol Hill, in reports to support enactment of anti-marine pollution treaties, and by the President's Inter-agency Task Force on Persistent Marine Debris.

How you can get involved

The CMC helps plastics companies set up their own beach cleanup or put interested volunteers in touch with an established cleanup in or near your community.

In addition to getting your company and its employees involved in the program, consider organizing volunteers from throughout your community to participate, from a local school, community group, or youth organization. Organize a team of volunteers or ask the CMC about making a donation to support the program.

The program is just one successful partnership. Investigate partnerships with customers and suppliers And let your local media know about your efforts. Your involvement will increase your company's visibility in the community, and you'll be viewed as a company that cares about the environment.

For more information about how you can help support the CMC's International Coastal Cleanup, call the CMC at (800) CMC-BEACH.


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