Food Wrappers for Thought

The 2022 Coastal Cleanup was a success! We had 266 volunteers of all ages remove debris from land and sea.

Our trash sorting station not only logged the types and amounts of trash but also weighed the debris this year. We estimated that 900 pounds of trash and 140 pounds of recycling were collected between Bayport and Aripeka (1,040 pounds in trash total).

So what were the top 10 items?

1.Food wrappers (n=1667)
2.Beverage cans (n=985)
3.Cigarette butts (n=974)
4.Plastic beverage bottles (n=858)
5.Glass beverage bottles (n=656)
6.Ziploc/plastic bags (n=418)
7.Plastic grocery bags (n=253)
8.Plastic plates / cups (n=211)
9.Personal protection (face masks, wipes, gloves) (n=199)
10.Plastic take-out containers (n=183)

Note: This tally does remove the small pieces of unidentifiable paper (n=652), foam (n=440), and plastic (n=654) from the list above.

So what do these top 10 items have in common?

You may notice that majority of the items contain plastic of some sort. But what about the source of these things? Or how did they even end up in our coastal systems in the first place? Many items in our top 10 above are snack and lunch box elements that may have blown out of boats, cars, or trash cans. Since 2016, cigarette butts have been our number one item collected. However, food wrappers and beverage cans bumped cigarette butts to third place this year. Let’s do our part to prevent these personal items from making their way into our coastal systems and keep Hernando beautiful!

What about the oddest items found:

-Money order for $875 (turned into Hernando Sheriff)
-Wallet (turned into Hernando Sherriff)
-Two valid license plates (turned into Hernando Sheriff)
-Bicycle basket
-Shotgun shell
-Dog leash

Total trash tally of everything: 9,837 pieces.

Partnerships and sponsorships are crucial in making our annual coastal cleanup a success. Their generosity supplied our volunteers with event t-shirts, trash bags, gloves, hand sanitizer, snack bars, ice, water, and Gatorade.

Thank you goes out to: Bayside Auto Works, Get Up And Go Kayaking – Weeki Wachee, Florida Chapter of the American Fisheries Society, PED-Stuart Corporation, The Weaver Group Realty, Inc., Weeki Wachee Marina, Sterling Marina, Hernando Beach Marina, Blue Pelican Marina, Our Beach Store, SUP WEEKI, Hernando Beach Property Owners Association.


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Posted: October 17, 2022

Category: Coasts & Marine, Conservation, Natural Resources, Recreation, SFYL Hot Topic, UF/IFAS, UF/IFAS Extension, Water, Wildlife
Tags: Coastal Cleanup, Florida Sea Grant, Marine Debris

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