When we beach recklessly, life in and out of the ocean suffers. Historically, July 5th has been known as the dirtiest beach day of the year in the United States, following Independence Day celebrations. Here at the Surfrider Foundation, this day has long been known as "The Morning After," when volunteers remove incredible amounts of red and blue single-use plastic cups, food packaging waste, abandoned toys and clothing, fireworks and cigarette butts from beaches nationwide.
As co-founders of the Better Beach Alliance, REEF has supported Surfrider's national beach cleanup program for two years, and expanded their support to protect European beaches alongside Surfrider Europe in 2019. In line with their international support of the Better Beach Alliance, REEF has taken on Surfrider's mission as a part of their own, looking inward to reduce their environmental impact and taking a hands-on approach to encourage volunteerism within their own staff.
Last year, the REEF headquarters team joined the San Diego County Chapter for their Morning After beach cleanup, where we collectively removed almost 1,000 individual pieces of plastic food wrappers and celebrated the year of our nation's founding by collecting more than 1,776 cigarette butts from the beach around Oceanside Pier. This year, REEF is raising awareness around this phenomenon to remind us that it's up to each and every one of us to protect our ocean, waves and beaches from plastic with a year-round, collective effort.
REEF wants you to help us prevent July 5th from becoming the dirtiest beach day of 2019. For every post of one of these images using #RestoreYourShore on Facebook or Instagram, REEF will donate $5 to the Surfrider Foundation to support the Better Beach Alliance. All you have to do is post one of these images with #RestoreYourShore before July 5th at 11:59pm PST, and REEF will donate on your behalf!
As we plan our holiday festivities, our friends at REEF also encourage us all to consider the impact of our plans on coastal and marine life and make some arrangements in advance to help mitigate those impacts, so we can Beach Freely on the Fourth. A few simple yet effective changes to make this year include:
- Reduce your footprint by eliminating single-use plastic from your celebrations! Bring reusable cups, bottles, straws, bags and tableware when bringing refreshments to the beach, or enjoying a party in your own backyard!
- Pack in, pack out. Choosing reusable items also helps prevent the risk of improperly recycling or disposing of single-use items on beaches where the waste management infrastructure may be limited. Avoid the single-use foam coolers and $5 chairs or umbrellas that are not built to last, as well. Alternatively investing in reusable items that are built to endure time and use reduces waste through longevity!
- Choose a reef-friendly sunscreen for your beach day! Go for a mineral (zinc oxide or titanium dioxide) based lotion sunscreen to reduce your impact on coral reefs, fish and other marine life. You can find our Guide to Reef-Friendly Sunscreens here.
- Spread the word! Don't forget to post one of these images to Facebook or Instagram and tag #RestoreYourShore to help raise awareness and amplify REEF's support of Surfrider's mission!