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COASTSWEEP - Information for Cleanup Coordinators

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

COASTSWEEP cleanup coordinators organize local cleanups with support from the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (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.

Please be safe while conducting COASTSWEEP cleanups. In addition to all regular safety guidelines (discussed below), please see Mass.gov COVID-19 Updates and Information and the CDC’s Guidance for COVID-19 for the most current recommendations for masks and social distancing.

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.

Sign Up to Be a Cleanup Coordinator

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 Federal Express, UPS, or 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
  • 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)
  • Data summary sheet (one per cleanup, if data cards have been requested)
  • Site cleanup report (one per cleanup)
  • Pencils (one per 2-3 volunteers, if data cards requested)
  • Self-addressed stamped envelope (to return data cards, summary sheet, and/or site cleanup)
  • Cleanup posters (one per cleanup)
  • Cleanup Coordinator thank you T-shirt

Sign-In 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.

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 is piloting the use of this app for 2021. Please Note: If you prefer, data cards, summary sheets, and pencils can be provided by request through the Coordinator Sign-Up Form, or you can print data sheets using the links below.

After using the app, please give us feedback at coastsweep@mass.gov. (The instructions below are available as a printer-friendly PDF (PDF, 128 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 choose “Allow While Using App” so that your location can be accessed when recording data at your cleanup location. If the option to choose “Allow While Using App” does 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.”
  1. Create an account by entering your email and a password.
  2. Once the account is created and you are logged in, select “Start Collecting” to begin recording data.
  3. 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. Once the cleanup information is completed, click “Start My Collection.”
  5. Add each item 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 remove items by scrolling down to the toggle switch. Toggle over to “Remove Item” and then tap the item you want removed. Switch back to “Add Item” to add more data.
  6. When the cleanup is completed, click on “Done Collecting.” Please review your cleanup information (especially be sure you have the correct Group Name). You can change any entry by clicking on it.
  7. Review the data by clicking the “Items Collected” button. If you need to change any data, click “Edit Items or Collect More.”
  8. Once everything is correct, click “Submit My Data!” When submission is complete, you will see “Thank You” and a summary of your cleanup.

PLEASE NOTE: To ensure cleanup location is properly saved in the app, please enter all data at the cleanup site. If this is not possible, you can “Record Past Cleanup” from the app home page. Be sure to select “Yes” in the “Did your Cleanup Occur Elsewhere?” on the first screen and enter the actual location details.

For additional information, see this 5-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 for

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