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Become a COASTSWEEP Cleanup Coordinator or Volunteer

Learn how to get involved with this statewide beach cleanup organized by the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM).

Since 1987, thousands of volunteers in Massachusetts have removed hundreds of tons of trash and other marine debris through CZM's annual COASTSWEEP cleanup. COASTSWEEP season extends from late August until early November, and with more than 1,500 miles of shoreline to cover, we need your help! You can participate as a Cleanup Coordinator or Volunteer.

All cleanups are unique, ranging in size from just a few to hundreds of volunteers. So whatever time you have to give, you can find the right volunteer option for you.

Cleanup Coordinator

Cleanup coordinators organize a cleanup at a local beach, bay, estuary, pond, lake, marsh, seafloor, riverbank, or even an underwater site (certified divers only, please). In addition to choosing a site, cleanup coordinators determine the date, time, and duration of the cleanup and handle all local logistics.

Cleanups can be scheduled for any day throughout the COASTSWEEP season (typically in September and October, but some cleanups are in late August or linger into November). CZM will work with you to make sure you have all of the necessary assistance and supplies for a safe and successful cleanup. Garbage bags, gloves, pencils, data cards, and other cleanup supplies are provided for free and are sent directly to you.

As a cleanup coordinator, you can put together your own team consisting of family and friends, students, classmates, co-workers, or any other people you may wish to invite. If your cleanup is open to the public, CZM can help you recruit volunteers.

CZM can also assist with event logistics, including providing tips on soliciting donations from within your community (such as food and prizes for volunteers), arranging for trash pickup, getting permits (if necessary), and providing safety instructions and getting liability waivers signed.

For more details, please see Information for Cleanup Coordinators, which includes a Cleanup Coordinator Sign-Up Form.

Volunteer

You can also volunteer at an existing cleanup. As a volunteer, you will remove trash and debris from the designated cleanup site and record the types and quantities of materials you find. This data will be used to better understand what types of materials are littering the beaches all over the world. To volunteer, see the Cleanup List, select a public cleanup, and contact the cleanup coordinator to let him/her know you are coming. PLEASE NOTE: The Cleanup List is posted starting in mid-August and updated every week through November. To receive reminders when new cleanup lists are posted, send a blank email (completely blank, with no signature line) to join-env-coastsweep-volunteers@listserv.state.ma.us.

For first-hand accounts of the rewards of participating in a COASTSWEEP beach cleanup, see Volunteers in Action.

Need more information?

Email your questions to coastsweep@mass.gov, or see the COASTSWEEP Overview and Index.

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