With support from the Better Beach Alliance, 2019 was a landmark year for the Surfrider Foundation's national beach cleanup program. Last year, the Better Beach Alliance set goals to remove 200,000 pounds of plastic pollution and trash through the efforts of an anticipated 30,000 volunteers at 850 beach cleanups across the United States. In 2019, at least 269,088 pounds of trash and recycling were removed from U.S. beaches and waterways by 45,506 volunteers at 871 cleanups reported by Surfrider chapters throughout the country.
Last year also marked the first time that Surfrider set international beach cleanup goals with our affiliates at the Surfrider Foundation Europe, through their Ocean Initiatives program. In 2019, with Surfrider Europe and our partners at REEF, we set out to collectively remove 300,000 pounds of plastic pollution and trash through the efforts of an anticipated 90,000 volunteers at about 2,450 beach cleanups across the U.S. and Europe. Together, we surpassed these international benchmarks with at least 3,093 beach cleanups in 2019, organized and attended by 133,315 volunteers, through which an estimated 403,605 pounds of trash were collectively removed from U.S. and European beaches and waterways.
Launched in 2018, the Better Beach Alliance was developed by the Surfrider Foundation and REEF to expand the impact of Surfrider’s beach cleanup program and amplify the amount of trash removed, volunteers engaged and events hosted. As a result of this successful program, more than 75,000 volunteers have joined together to remove over 490,000 pounds of plastic pollution and trash through more than 1,800 beach cleanups in the United States alone since the Alliance's inception.
In addition to REEF's role as a co-founding partner, Surfrider partners Clif Bar and Costa have supported the Surfrider Foundation's national beach cleanup program as part of the Better Beach Alliance since its inaugural year. Since the beginning of 2018, Costa has co-hosted 40 beach cleanups throughout the United States, while Clif Bar has continuously fueled our activists with on-the-ground, in-kind support across the country.
While our partners play a key role in supporting the growth of programs like the Better Beach Alliance, these impacts are produced by Surfrider's incredible volunteer network, made up of passionate coastal stewards and activists just like you! Beyond the direct impact that is produced by removing litter from the natural environment, the data that is collected at Surfrider beach cleanups by citizen scientists helps inform our advocacy work and ultimately contributes to positive shifts from individual habit changes to federal decision-making. Thanks to all of the incredible volunteers that contributed to Surfrider's mission in 2019 by attending beach cleanups, and to our Better Beach Alliance partners who support the continuous growth and expansion of our national beach cleanup program!
Learn more about our partnerships with REEF, Clif Bar, and Costa here!