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COASTSWEEP - Information for Cleanup Coordinators

Find out how to organize a cleanup at your favorite beach.

From late August into November, thousands of volunteers in Massachusetts turn out for COASTSWEEP—the statewide beach cleanup sponsored by the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM). COASTSWEEP cleanup coordinators organize local cleanups with support from CZM. As a cleanup coordinator, you will choose an area to be cleaned up, publicize the event locally, receive supplies, give cleanup and safety instructions, distribute materials to volunteers, oversee the cleanup, arrange for proper trash disposal, and ensure data is entered properly either through the mobile app or on data cards.

We recommend that cleanup coordinators contact the managers of the cleanup site to make sure that they are aware of your efforts. Site managers may also be able to help with logistics, such as trash removal. See the information below for further details on how to conduct a successful cleanup.

For a full list of information on the COASTSWEEP website, see Overview and Index. And if you have any questions, feel free to email us at coastsweep@mass.gov or see COASTSWEEP Contact Information for a staff list, email addresses, and phone numbers.

Table of Contents

Sign Up to Be a Cleanup Coordinator

COASTSWEEP cleanups are held from late August into November. To volunteer as a cleanup coordinator, please email coastsweep@mass.gov with the date and location of your proposed cleanup. CZM will get back to you to let you know if there are any potential scheduling conflicts and work with you to resolve any issues. Once the date and place are set, please fill out and submit a Cleanup Coordinator Sign-Up Form. After you sign up, you will receive further instructions, including details on contacting the site manager to discuss cleanup details. Please Note: CZM will provide site manager contact details for cleanups at Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) beaches once a cleanup is approved by DCR. CZM will then ship your supplies (see below) by U.S. Postal Service, so they arrive before your cleanup date.

Cleanup Supplies

CZM provides all of the cleanup supplies free of charge, including:

  • COASTSWEEP Welcome Letter
  • Trash bags
  • Disposable gloves (provided courtesy of Tronex)
  • COASTSWEEP Safety Guidelines (one per cleanup)
  • Waiver/sign-in sheet (one per cleanup)
  • Clean Swell mobile app instructions (one per cleanup)
  • Clean Swell mobile app poster (one per cleanup)
  • Data cards (one per 2-3 volunteers, if requested)
  • Pencils (one per 2-3 volunteers, if data cards requested)
  • Self-addressed stamped envelope (to return data cards, summary sheet, and/or site cleanup)
  • Site cleanup report (one per cleanup)
  • Cleanup posters (one per cleanup)
  • Cleanup Coordinator thank you T-shirt

Sheet/Waiver

It is important for every volunteer to sign in and complete the waiver. The best approach is to ask volunteers to read, complete, and submit the form online when they sign up for your cleanup. Parents and Legal Guardians must sign for minors. The online form can be submitted on a computer, tablet, or mobile phone. Please remember to use the DCR version for all cleanups held at DCR locations. (A printed sign-in sheet will also be provided with your supplies for people who do not have access to the online form. Please be sure to have it available at the cleanup, and have those who do not complete an online form read and sign the sheet.)

Online Waiver Forms (preferred method)

Printable Sign-In Sheet

COASTSWEEP Safety Guidelines

To ensure a safe cleanup, please read these safety instructions aloud to all volunteers prior to the cleanup. (You will also receive a copy in the mail with your supplies.)

Cleanup Report

Please submit this COASTSWEEP Beach/Site Cleanup Report to CZM as soon as possible after completion of your cleanup. The report confirms cleanup completion and lists details such as the number of volunteers and bags of debris collected. (A printable version is available below and will also be provided with your supplies for use by coordinators who cannot access the online form.)

Sample Press Release

Do you need help recruiting volunteers, or are you looking for some media coverage for your event? You can customize this generic press release and send it to your local papers, community television stations, and any relevant groups that send out newsletters. Please feel free to contact us if you need any help with your publicity efforts. If someone does a story on your event, we would like to know about it, so please send us a link at coastsweep@mass.gov.


You can download and customize this 8½"x11" cleanup poster with your cleanup information. You can fill it out online or hand write the details. If you do not have a printer, just let us know, and we'll ship some printed posters to you with your supplies.

Data Collection

Ocean Conservancy is now collecting data through the Clean Swell mobile app, which is available for Apple and Android phones. To help reduce waste associated with the cleanup, CZM suggests using this app for 2022. Please Note: If you prefer, data cards and pencils can be provided by request through the Coordinator Sign-Up Form, or you can print data sheets using the link below.

  • Data Card (PDF, 636 KB) - one per 2-3 volunteers

After using the app, please give us feedback at coastsweep@mass.gov. (The instructions below are available as a printer-friendly PDF (PDF, 138 KB) and will also be included with your supplies.)

Clean Swell Mobile App Instructions (printer-friendly PDF)

For Cleanup Coordinators

  1. Create a Group Name that will uniquely identify your cleanup in the Ocean Conservancy database. The name should start with “MA-CZM” followed by your last name and the beach/site (for example, MA-CZM-Smith-Nauset). (Please be sure to include your Group Name in the Cleanup Report you submit to CZM.)
  2. Prominently post the Clean Swell Poster (included with your supplies) at the cleanup. Clearly write the Group Name on the poster, and also provide the Group Name to volunteers with your cleanup instructions.
  3. When giving cleanup instructions, also suggest that cleanup volunteers work in small teams of two or more, with one team member downloading the app and collecting data.

For Volunteers

To get the app, search for “Clean Swell” in the Apple App Store or on Google Play. After installing the app:

  1. Open the app and create an account by entering your email address and password. You can also login using your social media account login credentials.
  2. Open the app and choose “Allow Locations Services” so that your location can be accessed when entering data at your cleanup location. Then select “Allow While Using App” If these location options do not pop up, please check the location settings for the Clean Swell app using details below for Apple and Android phones:

    Apple Phones

    1. Go to Settings => Privacy => Location Services
    2. Scroll down to Clean Swell. It should display “While Using.”
    3. If not, tap on “Clean Swell” and check “While Using the App.”

    Android Phones

    1. Go to Settings => Location => App Permissions or App Access to Location.
    2. Scroll down to Clean Swell. It should display “Allowed only while in use.”
    3. If not, tap on “Clean Swell” and select “Allow only while using the app.”
  3. Select “Allow Notifications” if you like. This will provide app updates and reminders to submit data.
  4. Select “Allow Camera & Photos” if you would like to add cleanup photos to your cleanup data.
  5. Once the account is created and you are logged in, select “Start” on the “Start a new cleanup” page.
  6. Fill in the requested cleanup information:
    1. Enter the number of people on your team.
    2. Under “Group,” fill in the Group Name that begins with “MA-CZM” provided by your Cleanup Coordinator.
    3. Select the “Type of Cleanup” (either land, underwater, or watercraft).
    4. Confirm location is correct. If not, recheck Location Services settings (See Volunteer Step #2 above)
  7. Once the cleanup information is completed, click “Start a New Cleanup.”
  8. Items are listed by category. Add items collected by tapping once on the correct icon (you will see the number in upper right corner of the icon change with each click). You can add a bulk number of items to any entry by holding the icon until the orange circle closes and a new page appears. You can enter an additional bulk amount here. You can also reset an item to zero by selecting the red minus sign in the upper right of that screen. The reenter the total amount for that item and select “Update Amount."
  9. When the cleanup is completed, scroll down add photos if you would like. You can take new photos or add them from your camera roll.
  10. Once finished, scroll down further, and select “Finish this cleanup,” then confirm you want to finish. Please review your cleanup information (especially be sure you have the correct Group Name). You can change any entry by clicking on the box with pencil icon to the right.
  11. Once everything is correct, scroll down and select an image background and color, share the summary image if you’d like, and click “Save & Return to Home.” When submission is complete, it will return to the “Start a new cleanup” page. You will then receive an email with all your cleanup data.

PLEASE NOTE: To ensure cleanup location is properly saved in the application, please enter all data at cleanup site. If this is not possible, you can select “Record a past cleanup” from the app home page (scroll right). On the first screen you can enter the actual location details.

For additional information, see this 6-minute Ocean Conservancy video on the using the app. Also, see the Clean Swell Poster (PDF, 5 MB) (you will get a copy with your supplies), which can be posted at cleanups for general instructions and to provide the Group Name for the cleanup.

More Information

Below are links to some additional materials to assist with your cleanup efforts.

  • Pocket Guide to Marine Debris (PDF, 1 MB) - This Ocean Conservancy publication provides basic background information about marine debris.
  • More on Marine Debris - See this page for an explanation of the marine debris issue, along with links to additional resources.

Additional Resources

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