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Nearly 20,000 Pounds of Trash Collected from Rhode Island Shores During International Coastal Cleanup in September

PROVIDENCE, RI – On September 19, 2015, Save The Bay coordinated the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup in Rhode Island. Nearly 2,200 volunteers statewide participated in the 30th year of the International Coastal Cleanup (ICC), collecting 19,469 pounds of trash over 65 miles of shoreline. The International Coastal Cleanup is the largest global volunteer effort on behalf of the ocean. Today, Save The Bay releases its 2015 International Coastal Cleanup Rhode Island Report.

The 47,397 cigarette butts collected made up 39 percent of all trash collected on Rhode Island’s coast. Along with cigarette butts, other top 10 trash items collected (in order) were 10,448 food wrappers, 7,960 plastic bottle caps, 6,023 plastic beverage bottles, 5,037 straws and stirrers, 3,689 drink cans, 3,678 metal bottle caps, 3,655 plastic bags, 3,557 glass bottles and 2,726 plastic/foam packaging. Volunteers also encountered such unusual findings as a boat floorboard, voodoo doll, traffic cone, kiddie swimming pool, craft supplies, frying pan, sunglasses and more.

Tiny trash, representing pieces of glass and plastic less than 2.5 cm in diameter, also were a significant component of trash collected, at 38,911 bits. Tiny trash occurs because most litter does not biodegrade, but rather breaks down into smaller pieces. Data from Rhode Island’s cleanup will become part of Ocean Conservancy’s global report in spring 2016.

This year, in the Rhode Island International Coastal Cleanup:

  • 2,199 volunteers participated in an ICC cleanup
  • 19,469 pounds of trash were collected, an increase of 3,101 pounds over last year
  • 65 miles of shoreline were covered, and for the first time, a cleanup was held in every coastal town in Rhode Island
  • 160,205 total items were collected and documented

“These data help us understand where the trash is coming from,” said Save The Bay Volunteer and Internship Manager July Lewis.  “The biggest source is from people eating, drinking and smoking on the beach and then leaving their trash behind. It is important that beachgoers bring an empty garbage bag with them and dispose of their trash; anything to prevent leaving trash on the beach,” Other sources of trash include inland litter that washes down storm drains, illegal dumping, and fishing and boating debris.

Lewis is quick to credit the thousands of volunteers who make the International Coastal Cleanup possible. “Our volunteers make this event happen. We are especially grateful for our ‘Beach Captains’ who organize and lead cleanups in their communities. With their help, we are able to keep our beaches clean and spread the word that it is not okay to trash the Bay,” she said. In addition to the International Coastal Cleanup, Save The Bay organizes other shoreline cleanups throughout Rhode Islsand from March through November. For volunteers interested in learning about leading a shoreline cleanup, Save The Bay will offer its next Shoreline Cleanup Leader Training on Saturday, March 19, from 10 a.m. until noon, at the Save The Bay Center in Providence.

Save The Bay thanks the sponsors of 2015 Rhode Island International Coastal Cleanup National Grid, Citizens Bank, Dominion, Bank Of America, REI, Hemenway’s Seafood Grill and Oyster Bar, WalMart, Zipcar, New England Med Waste Services, LLC, Environmental Packaging 2.0 , Professional Security Services, and Davitt Design Build, Inc.

Always held on the third Saturday in September, the 2015 International Coastal Cleanup is scheduled for Saturday, September 17, 2016, with alternate cleanups throughout September and October. For more information on participating as a volunteer or sponsor, contact Save The Bay at

REI Partners With Save The Bay: REI Village to be at Oakland Beach ICC Cleanup Site

CRANSTON, RI –Save The Bay is proud to team up with REI, a sponsor for this year’s International Coastal Cleanup (ICC). REI will be bringing the REI Village, a nation-wide tour that celebrates the good outdoor life and the REI member community, to the International Coastal Cleanup location at Oakland Beach in Warwick, RI at 9am – 12pm on Saturday, September 19. Special activities and opportunities await volunteers who participate in the ICC Oakland Beach cleanup.

“REI is thrilled to support Save The Bay at the 2015 International Coastal Cleanup. We are excited to announce that REI will be bringing the REI Village to the event. We will be celebrating volunteers by passing out gifts and interacting with the public. REI is very proud of the work Save the Bay does to keep our local beaches clean, safe, and healthy,” says Alaina Imberger, REI’s market coordinator.

At the REI Village, ICC volunteers and members of the public will enjoy giveaways, free lessons from REI Outdoor School instructors, games, demonstrations and more. The REI village consists of “a fully-functional bike repair shop, an instant outdoor hammock lounge, and spaces for members to relax and meet each other.” Volunteers and the public will be able to experience REI’s mobile camp setup experience. Sponsors like REI make it possible for the International Coastal Cleanup to be a success.

“The exciting thing about the International Coastal Cleanup is that it is an event on such a grand scale. We are united with people around the world who care just as much about their beaches as we do in Rhode Island,” says July Lewis, Save The Bay’s Volunteer Manager.

Organized by the Ocean Conservancy, the ICC is a worldwide event that recruits volunteers from all over the globe to help keep coastlines clean by removing trash and recording what is found at the cleanup sites. This year’s ICC takes place on September 19, 2015. Last year in Rhode Island, 16,368 pounds of trash were removed from the beaches. The top 10 items collected were cigarette butts, food wrappers, plastic bottle caps, plastic beverage bottles, fishing line, straws, beverage cans, plastic bags, glass bottles and metal bottle caps.

National Grid is the lead sponsor for this year’s International Coastal Cleanup; Citizens Bank is the event signature sponsor. Other sponsors include:  Bank of America, Hemenway’s Seafood Grill & Oyster Bar, REI, ZipCar, Packaging 2.0, Clean Ocean Access, Walmart, Professional Security Services and Northups. For more information about sponsorship or partnership with Save The Bay, contact Leanne Danielsen at

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