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Trash piled around a waste bin on a sandy beach.


Help Keep Our Beaches Clean this Fourth of July

For many of us, the July Fourth holiday means soaking up sunshine at the beach and enjoying fireworks over the ocean. But once the festivities have finished, we are left with a less-than festive sight – trash covering our beloved beaches. So much trash is left behind that the fifth of July has been dubbed “the dirtiest beach day of the year.” From single-use plastic foodware and beverage bottles to firework casings and sparkler packaging, our coasts and beaches are littered with the remnants of the day before. The Surfrider Foundation knows things can be better, which is why we work to clean up the trash on the fifth of July and fight year round to prevent single-use plastics from polluting our beaches in the first place. 


But Surfrider doesn’t just clean the beach on the fifth of July – we host cleanups all year long. Over the last decade, over 150,000 coastal activists have removed more than 1 million pounds of trash and recycling from our beaches. With over 1,000 cleanups happening each year, hundreds of thousands of pounds of trash are being picked up and cataloged in Surfrider’s beach cleanup database. We use this data to pass plastic pollution reduction legislation at the local, state and federal levels in an effort to stop plastic pollution at the source. 

Tips for a Cleaner Fifth of July

  • Choose to Reuse: When preparing for your Fourth of July celebrations, use reusable foodware instead of single-use plastic. Bring your own reusable cups, plates and cutlery, and enjoy your day without worrying about adding to the plastic pollution on the beach 
  • Think Natural or Recyclable: If you aren’t able to use only reusables, opt for recyclable or natural materials, such as aluminum, bamboo, etc. Skip the bioplastics as research has shown that bioplastics can be just as harmful to our environment as their petroleum based counterparts. 
  • Leave No Trace: Everything you bring to the beach with you, remember to take back home. Packing out what you packed in helps reduce the strain on beachside trash receptacles and limits the amount of trash that may be accidentally littered when the bins get too full. 
  • Join a Cleanup: Volunteer with your local Surfrider Chapter and participate in a cleanup on the fifth of July. You’ll get to see firsthand how much trash is on our beaches and you can become part of the solution as well. Don’t have a Surfrider Chapter near you? Do a solo beach cleanup and log your results in our database. 
  • Become a Monthly Donor: Most Surfrider chapters and clubs hold monthly beach cleanups (some hold more!). Our generous monthly donors help ensure we can always be ready to defend our ocean! Become a monthly donor and help sustain year-round beach cleanup operations.

When the fifth of July is over, the Surfrider Foundation’s work to protect our ocean, waves and beaches doesn’t stop. Join us in our fight against plastic pollution and become a friend of the ocean today.