Beach Cleanup: So Many Straws!

This past week, I attended two beach clean up events. They definitely needed some cleaning if you saw my post about Chicago’s beaches over Memorial Day weekend.

The first clean up was the Alliance for the Great Lakes My Beach is Your Beach Adopt-a-Beach Clean Up at Oak Street Beach. Unfortunately, it was pouring most of the event, but there were still a decent amount of people there! The premise of this event was to pick up a piece of trash and replace it with a flag. In the end, we had a great visual of how much trash was out there.



While the Chicago Park District grooms the beaches on a daily basis, tiny pieces of litter are still left behind. This was mainly what we were picking up.

Do not worry, we picked up all the flags afterward!

This morning was Adopt-a-Beach for World Environment Day at Montrose Beach. It was put on by Alliance for the Great Lakes, Goose Island Beer Company, and Delta Institute.

We broke up into groups with gloves, trash bags, a tally sheet. I was in charge of my group’s tally sheet which broke up trash into common categories like food wrappers, small plastic pieces, and personal hygiene products.

Top Things We Picked Up:

  • straws
  • bottle caps (metal & plastic)
  • unidentified plastic pieces
  • cigarette butts
  • wrappers
  • glass

Really Random Things We Picked Up:

  • a slap bracelet
  • a condom
  • half a pair of sunglasses

All in all, we helped pick up 546 pounds of trash! That is amazing! When you looked out at the beach before we started, you wouldn’t have said, wow it is dirty! Everything we picked up was really tiny, and the fact that we had enough tiny pieces to equal 546 pounds is insane.


  1. 546 pounds?! Omg. Wow. And all tiny pieces that would have gone lost forever if you hadn’t found them. Good for you for taking part in these clean-ups. Great visual too using the flags to show the trash.


  2. Finding plastic on beaches is really sad. I remember finding small plastic pellets of plastic at my favorite beach in Hawaii, Lanikai. By the way the pellets were shaped, I knew that it traveled a long way across the world and washed onto Hawaiian shores. The sadder part is that I was there at Lanikai 2 years before and the beach was pristine. Its crazy how things change in a short period of time.


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