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Water: Marine Debris

What You Can Do as Beachfront Property Managers

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Beachfront Property Managers

Marine debris and trash near your beachfront property can appear unsightly and unwelcoming to your beach guests and it will most likely end up in the waterway. The tips below can aid in reducing trash and marine debris, helping to protect this valuable natural resource and maintain the attractiveness of our beaches.


Improve on-site waste management

Did You Know ?

During the 2008 International Coastal Cleanup, more than 3.2 million cigarettes and cigarette filters were removed from beaches and inland waterways, accounting for more than twice the number of any other debris items found!

Make sure you have a sufficient number of trash and recycling receptacles; place receptacles in convenient and highly populated areas. Use efficient and effective containers for trash management. What are the best containers for keeping trash in its place? Ideal containers are highly visible, clearly labeled, have secure lids, are sturdy enough to last for several beach seasons, and can be easily and frequently maintained. Post a phone number to report overflowing trash containers or other waste concerns for a quicker response. During prime beach seasons, schedule additional trash and recycling pick-ups that correspond to the busiest times of the day and the week.

When cleaning beaches, time the beach waste collection and combing to correspond with the tides – don't let waste, particularly cigarette butts and other plastics, get washed into waterways before it can be removed.

Best bet for on-site waste management? Look for opportunities to reduce, reuse, and recycle trash from beach-goers. Consider providing containers for newspaper and magazine sharing, and lost-and-found bins.

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Distribute reusable cups and containers

Reduce the amount of waste produced by providing products in reusable and recyclable containers. Avoid distributing disposable items such as straws, plastic and styrofoam cups, plates, and utensils. When  providing single-use items, such as napkins, give only limited amounts. You will save the environment and money at the same time. For more information and tips on waste reduction and recycling visit the EPA's Office of Resource Conservation and Recovery Consumers Handbook for Reducing Solid Waste.

Do you allow outside vendors to sell food and drinks? Check out the different ways to engage them in your efforts to prevent marine debris.

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Assign smoking areas

Did You Know ?

Cigarette butts don't disappear! About 95% of cigarette filters are composed of cellulose acetate, a form of plastic which does not quickly degrade and can persist in the environment!
(Clean Virginia Waterways Exit EPA Disclaimer)

Cigarette litter is a major component of marine debris that people often ignore. Designate areas for smoking and provide appropriate cigarette receptacles so that people do not discard their cigarette butts on the beach. Additionally, post no-smoking signs at entrances and other high traffic areas. For more information on cigarette litter prevention visit the Guide to Prevent Cigarette Litter Exit EPA Disclaimer.

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Spread the word

Post eye-catching signs along beaches and at entrances to remind people to properly dispose of their trash. Additionally, post educational signs on marine debris and its impacts to wildlife and humans.

Want an example? Here's a poster from California that highlights the impacts of marine debris on wildlife (JPG) Exit EPA Disclaimer.

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